Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians in a Preamble
Constitutional Reform Unit, Sydney Law School, Report No. 2, 2011
69 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2011 Last revised: 29 Sep 2011
Date Written: September 5, 2011
In 2011 the Australian Government established an expert panel to consider a proposal to recognise Indigenous Australians in the Constitution. This report deals with the proposal to locate that recognition in the preamble to the Constitution. It considers the background to Indigenous constitutional recognition, the history of such proposals and its implementation in State Constitutions. It analyses how preambles have been used in statutory interpretation and then undertakes four case studies of how constitutional preambles have been applied by courts in the United States, Canada, India and France. It addresses the constitutional power to amend the preamble or insert a new preamble in the Australian Constitution and the potential implications of such action, including how they might be limited.
Keywords: constitutional amendment, referendum, constitutional preamble, Aboriginal people, indigenous peoples, statutory interpretation, constitutional interpretation, equality, constitutional rights
JEL Classification: K10, K30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation