Support for recognition of indigenous Australian grows as referendum draws closer










Support for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continues with  77%  of non-indigenous and  87%  of Indigenous Australians saying they would vote yes in a referendum if held today.

The findings were released at a Reconciliation South Australia breakfast to celebrate the start of National Reconciliation Week and the 49th  anniversary of the historic 1967 Referendum.

RECOGNISE Joint Campaign Director Tanya Hosch told the audience of 1300 people, which included 1967 campaigners Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue and Shirley Peisley, that there is consistent and encouraging support for constitutional change.

The new research by independent company Polity, and conducted using large samples and random selection, is the  eighth  consecutive poll since 2012 that shows a consistent trend of high level support for recognising Indigenous people in Australia’s Constitution.

The survey also found high levels of agreement that the push for recognition is being driven by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and leaders:

  • Of non-Indigenous people surveyed – 53% agreed and only 6% disagreed
  • Of Indigenous people surveyed – 65% Indigenous agreed and only10% disagreed.

“This consistent data shows that the Australian community supports the strong need to fix our Constitution to tell our country’s whole story and deal with the racial discrimination in our highest legal document,” Ms Hosch said.

Ms Hosch said the findings were consistent with what thousands of Australians around the country are saying during conversations in the three year long Journey to Recognition, the national relay to raise awareness about constitutional change.

“Our research identifies that fixing the Constitution to recognise the place of the First Australians in our history is important to us all.”

“Momentum is building towards a Referendum in 2017, and this research shows the Australian community is ready to unite to leave a legacy that future generations can be proud of.”

The March 2016 survey has seen a drop in awareness levels since the last survey- 51%    (Non-Indigenous) and 63% (Indigenous). From a high of July 2015 (63% and 73% – respectively) which followed the widely reported 2015 July leaders meeting and an advertising campaign by Recognise last winter. Awareness is still above the long-term trend.

“This dip in awareness shows that progress must continue to be made to resolve a model and it’s good to see that consultations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are being rolled out from now to the end of the year.”

“This can’t be rushed but equally, we can’t let this opportunity pass us by”.

The survey also found that 62% of Indigenous respondents would be likely to get involved and support the Recognise campaign.

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