Now that the Referendum Council’s final report is with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, Council Co-Chair Mark Leibler says he understands it will be released publicly in the next few weeks.
Appearing on SKY News program The Issue, hosted by Patricia Karvelas, Mark said that once people had a chance to read the report, he was confident they would view the Council’s recommendations as moderate, reasonable and able to attract the necessary support to succeed at a referendum.
Asked about the optimum timing for a referendum, Mark said it should be held when it had the best chance of being carried.
He spoke of attending the National Convention at Uluru, describing it as one of the moving experiences of his life to take part in the final ceremony, culminating in the release of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
The central recommendation of the Statement was the establishment of a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous advisory body to federal parliament. Asked about reservations already expressed about the idea by conservative politicians, including Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, Mark said he would be happy to meet with Mr Joyce and take him through the Council’s recommendations.
In terms of internal tensions in the Liberal Party and their impact on the recognition discussion, Mark commented that both the current Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and former Prime Minister Tony Abbott support constitutional recognition of the First Peoples.
To view the SKY News interview, click here.