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Legal recognition of Indigenous status

Posted on: 13 February, 2013
Issue: Vol 13 No 1, January 2013 – March 2013
Related to Policies

The House of Representatives has passed legislation recognising Indigenous Australian peoples as the first inhabitants of Australia.

The passage of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ recognition bill 2012 through the Lower House occurred on the five year anniversary of the date on which former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd apologised to the Stolen generations. The bill is considered an interim step on the path towards an eventual referendum for constitutional change.

Prior to the passing of the bill, Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda, said that it could assist in increasing and improving Australian Indigenous peoples’ ‘resilience, self-worth and relationship with the broader Australian community …. this recognition will be of great benefit to the Australian nation as a whole in coming to terms with our past in such a positive manner.’

The legislation passed with unanimous support.

Sources: ABC news, NACCHO communiqué

  • Contact details:
    •  Simon Cullen, Chief Political Correspondent, ABC News, contactable through ABC News.
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    • Colin Cowell, National Communications and Media Advisor, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO), Ph: (02) 6246 9309, Fax: (02) 6248 0744, Email:
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