Gilbert + Tobin’s Managing Partner and Co-Chair of the Cape York Partnership Group, Danny Gilbert has renewed calls to grant Indigenous Australians recognition and a voice in our nation’s primary instrument of governance. Danny urged all Australians to support Constitutional change and get behind the proposal of the Referendum Council to establish a Parliamentary advisory body of Indigenous Australians.

Speaking at the Sydney Institute this week, Danny said despite the efforts being made to recognise and improve the lives of Indigenous people, the system continues to fail our nation’s first people.

“No other group of Australians has so many people at every level of government influencing and, in many cases, controlling their lives. Many of these interventions have benefited Indigenous people but many haven’t. Indigenous people deserve a constitutionally enshrined place at the table and a voice when it comes to decisions on how to address the challenges and obstacles they face today.”

A long-time campaigner for Indigenous recognition, Danny’s powerful speech comes five months after the historic Uluru Statement from the Heart, in which Indigenous Leaders from across the nation endorsed the need for constitutional reform to empower Indigenous Australians to input to their destiny. The recommendations coming out of Uluru have fallen off the national agenda and political will dampened in the face of on-going legal nit-picking and questions about alternate statutory and treaty-based approaches.

“Our First People want proper and respectful recognition of their place in the nation. This is an opportunity for true reconciliation, both practical and symbolic. My challenge to Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten is to get behind this proposal with courageous determination and show us the way, added Danny.

Danny’s speech was followed by a lively panel discussion featuring Cape York Founder Noel Pearson, Professor Megan Davis, UNSW’s first Pro-Vice-Chancellor Indigenous and the ABC’s Geraldine Doogue. The panel reflected on the need for leadership and support from all sections of the Australian community, in particular, white Australia, to build a shared future under our constitution and discussed what it will take to achieve true reconciliation.

Danny’s full speech is available here.

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