The AFL has become the first major sporting body to formally support constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians.
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27 May 2014 - 6:12 PM  UPDATED 28 May 2014 - 10:02 AM

The AFL will back the Recognise campaign, and incorporate its message into upcoming games.

Recognise describes itself as a people's movement, advocating for constitutional change.

It proposes removing some sections of the constitution, including one that could be used to create laws prohibiting people from voting based on their race, and adding provisions to strengthen laws against racial discrimination.

Incoming AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan launched the campaign in Sydney, saying branding would be visible to spectators throughout the coming season.

Australian of the Year and Sydney Swans star Adam Goodes welcomed the decision to place recognition right at the heart of the game.

He hopes it will help build on continuing efforts to stamp out racism in Australian Rules football.

"We've got a great opportunity as nation right now to do something that's right, something that could change the next 200 years of our history and include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders into our constitution."

The plan to recognise Indigenous Australians in the constitution was backed by both sides of politics under the previous Labor government, and enabling legislation has been passed by the federal parliament.

However, a form of words to put to a referendum hasn't yet been agreed on.

Speaking from Sydney today, Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion today took the chance to reiterate the government's position on recognition.

"We are committed as a government or as a parliament to constitutional recognition of first peoples,” he said.

"I know, so is the opposition, so are the state and territory premiers, and so, I believe, are the vast majority of Australians."

Mr Scullion says it will still take some time to finalise the details of the referendum proposal.