NOTICES - Withdrawal

I seek to withdraw notice of motion No. 545 standing in my name for today relating to the establishment of a joint select committee and I seek leave to make a statement of no more than three minutes in relation to the matter.

Leave granted.

Senator DODSON: My motion was intended to find a mechanism for advancing the cause of constitutional recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our Constitution. It aimed to establish a joint select committee on progress towards Indigenous recognition. Any such mechanism, in order to lead one day to a successful referendum, would need to have bipartisan, indeed cross-party, support in the development of options for parliamentary consideration.

This parliament, unfortunately, is at a critical juncture on this issue for one simple reason: the government, in its wisdom, has clearly indicated it does not, and will not in the future, countenance any consideration of what first-nations people have put forward in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. The government has emphatically rejected the recommendations of the Referendum Council for an entrenched voice in the Constitution. Without government support, any future referendum proposal will fail. Without cross-party support, any future referendum proposal will fail. Without hearing and listening to first-nation peoples' calls, any proposal for a referendum will be pointless.

We need to find an effective way to take on board what has been plainly put to us from Uluru about first-nations people having an effective voice in the parliament on matters that affect their destinies. We need to find a way together to advance these issues and flesh out how first-nation aspirations can go forward with the support of the government, the opposition and the minority parties—and, most importantly, the first-nation peoples. In the current environment my proposal will not achieve these objectives and I, therefore, withdraw the motion. I'll be willing to work with the government and other parties on any proposal for the parliament to advance these issues in the future.

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