• 'The problem with changing the Australian Constitution is that the Australian electorate is very conservative': Malcolm Turnbull speaks to NITV's Stan Grant. (NITV News)Source: NITV News
EXCLUSIVE | Australians may be voting on constitutional recognition by next year, the Prime Minister has told NITV's Stan Grant in an exclusive interview at The Lodge.
By
Myles Morgan

29 Feb 2016 - 1:11 PM  UPDATED 29 Feb 2016 - 2:50 PM

In a wide ranging interview with Stan Grant, host of the The Point, Malcolm Turnbull said every Prime Minister has an obligation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

"Every Prime Minister is a Prime Minister for Indigenous affairs, a Prime Minister for all Australians,” he said during his first television interview at his Canberra home, the Lodge.

RELATED STORY:
Stan Grant: Turnbull's tears must now be turned into action
It's the first time that the Prime Minister has accepted an interview at the residence - and one that left him in tears.

Making policies with Indigenous people, opening up economic opportunities and promoting the diversity of First Nations cultures are critical, according to the Prime Minister.

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott promised to “sweat blood" on changing Australia’s Constitution to somehow recognise or acknowledge Indigenous people.

In December, the new Turnbull Government announced the membership of a Referendum Council to guide Australians towards the necessary referendum to change the country’s founding document.

"The problem with changing the Australian Constitution is that the Australian electorate is very conservative with the Constitution, and I think that’s partly because of compulsory voting,” Mr Turnbull told NITV.

“People who aren’t familiar with the question or haven’t read much about it are much more likely to vote ‘no’.”

But he said a vote in May 2017, on the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum, is certainly possible.

“It is complex and I believe a referendum next year is certainly feasible, but we have to get that agreement, and we will need overwhelming support for it to be carried,” according to the Prime Minister.

Watch the full episode: