Australia passes indigenous recognition bill

Candles laid out to read sorry glow outside of Parliament House on 11 February 2008 in Canberra, Australia Mr Rudd had apologised for laws and policies that "inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss"

Related Stories

Australia's lower house has unanimously passed a bill recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples as the country's first inhabitants.

The move came on the fifth anniversary of the historic apology to indigenous Australians for past injustices.

It is seen as a interim move before a referendum is held to include the recognition in the constitution.

The plebiscite was meant to take place this year but had been postponed by the government to build up support.

Indigenous Australians watching from the public galleries met the passage of the bill, which enjoyed bipartisan support, with applause.

"I do believe the community is willing to embrace the justice of this campaign because Australians understand that indigenous culture and history are a source of pride for us all," Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said.

"This bill seeks to foster momentum for a referendum for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples."

She said that a review will be held to gauge public support for a referendum, which is needed to make any change to the constitution in Australia.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott said that constitutional recognition for the indigenous peoples was long overdue.

"We need to atone for the omissions and for the hardness of heart of our forebears, to enable us all to embrace the future as a united people," he said.

In 2008, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd formally apologised to the indigenous population for laws and policies that "inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss".

In his apology, he singled out the "stolen generations" of thousands of children forcibly removed from their families.

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Asia stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • French luxury Tea House, Mariage Freres display of tea pots Tea for tu

    France falls back in love with tea - but don't expect a British cuppa


  • Woman in swimming pool Green stuff

    The element that makes a familiar smell when mixed with urine


  • People take part in an egg-cracking contest in the village of Mokrin, 120km (75 miles) north of Belgrade, Serbia on 20 April 2014In pictures

    Images from around the world as Christians mark Easter Sunday


  • Female model's bottom in leopard skin trousers as she walks up the catwalkBum deal

    Why budget buttock ops can be bad for your health


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • ITChild's play

    It's never been easier for small businesses to get their message out to the world

Programmes

  • An aerial shot shows the Olympic Stadium, which is closed for repair works on its roof, in Rio de Janeiro March 28, 2014.Extra Time Watch

    Will Rio be ready in time to host the Olympics in 2016? The IOC president gives his verdict

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.