After rejecting the idea of Indigenous-only conventions to talk about Constitutional recognition, Prime Minister Tony Abbott will have a meeting Aboriginal leaders about the issue in Canberra on Thursday.
By
Myles Morgan

Source:
NITV News
20 Aug 2015 - 10:41 AM  UPDATED 20 Aug 2015 - 10:42 AM

TRANSCRIPT

Natalie Ahmat: Has the Prime Minister had a change of heart?

After rejecting the idea of Indigenous-only conventions to talk about Constitutional recognition, he will have a meeting Aboriginal leaders about the issue tomorrow in Canberra.

His chief Indigenous adviser says it'd be stupid not to do it.

Myles Morgan has more.

Myles Morgan: The Prime Minister made a point of rejecting the idea of Aboriginal conventions just weeks ago at the Garma festival.

He said black conferences would risk broader support for the referendum to change the Constitution.

Now, he will meet with Noel Pearson, Pat Dodson, Megan Davis and Kirstie Parker to talk about what he'd already said wouldn't happen.

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Kirstie Parker, National Congress of Australia's First Peoples: We hope to be able to persuade him to support the issues we've proposed with a bit of tinkering inevitably. We've put up a suggested process: a series of conferences or gatherings around the country, coming together for some sort of national Indigenous convention at some point.

Warren Mundine, Indigenous Advisory Council: Some people are negative about it. I have a lot of confidence in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people out there. They're not stupid, they have a lot to say and they're very strong about their views... I find it stupid to think about having a referendum without Indigenous support.

Myles Morgan: The head of the Indigenous Advisory Council says he'll also be raising the issue during his meetings with the PM.

Warren Mundine, Indigenous Advisory Council: My concern is it seem to be a bit up the top. It's all the lawyers and the academics and the politicians and all that who that who are doing all the talking at the moment, so it's about saying, ok what are the viewpoints we need to get from the grassroots.

Myles Morgan: Warren Mundine says the burden of securing support for recognition can be shared.

Warren Mundine, Indigenous Advisory Council:  The land councils, the native title rep bodies and other groups who are at that level to arrange their own stuff as well so I think we need to do both really. To sit back and wait is going to do our people a disservice.

Myles Morgan: There's also the Government uncertainty on legalising gay marriage. Will it come down to a people's vote? The Prime Minister will be told not to juggle constitutional change and gay marriage.

Kirstie Parker, National Congress of Australia's First Peoples: It would be best served for it not to be complicated by other contentious issues. We know there are a lot issues before the Parliament, this is one that deserves the attention of our Parliament but also the Australian people being able to focus on these key issues.