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Indigenous leaders debate Australia's constitution

July 8, 2015 6:23 pm

Australia’s top two politicians and 40 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island leaders have met to discuss changing Australia’s constitution to recognise the nation’s first people.

The BBC reports the meeting which was billed as historic was held in Kirribilli in Sydney not far from where Britain established a penal colony in 1788 that would eventually become a new nation.

The current debate about how to recognise Indigenous Australians in the nation’s founding document, and how to overcome that document’s racist clauses, is controversial and highly charged.

The meeting, hosted by Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition leader Bill Shorten, agreed to establish a council to examine the wording and timing of any referendum question put to the public.

The meeting also agreed to hold a series of community conferences across the country so the public could have a say in any changes to the constitution.