The South Australian Government has an ongoing commitment to the formal recognition of Aboriginal Peoples as the First People of this state and nation.

South Australia’s Constitution

The South Australian Government established an Advisory Panel in 2012, which consulted with South Australians on the words and placement of a recognition statement in the state’s constitution.

Having concluded its community consultations, the Panel submitted its report to the government in October 2012.

On 21 March 2013, the Parliament of South Australia passed the Constitution (Recognition of Aboriginal Peoples) Amendment Bill 2012, which was assented to by the Governor on 28 March 2013. This Bill amended the Constitution Act 1934 to formally and constitutionally recognise Aboriginal South Australians.

The Bill introduced new text into the Constitution (Part 1, section 2), as follows:

2 - Recognition of Aboriginal peoples

(1) The Parliament on behalf of the people of South Australia acknowledges that:

(a) the Parliament of the United Kingdom in 1834 passed a Bill called An Act to empower His Majesty to erect South Australia into a British Province or Provinces and to provide for the Colonisation and Government thereof and that by Letters Patent dated 19 February 1836 His Majesty established the Province of South Australia; and

(b) the making of the above instruments and subsequent constitutional instruments providing for the governance of South Australia and for the making of laws for peace, order and good government occurred without proper and effective recognition, consultation or authorisation of Aboriginal peoples of South Australia.

(2) Following the Apology given on 28 May 1997, the Parliament, on behalf of the people of South Australia

(a) acknowledges and respects Aboriginal peoples as the State's first peoples and nations; and

(b) recognises Aboriginal peoples as traditional owners and occupants of land and waters in South Australia and that:

(i) their spiritual, social, cultural and economic practices come from their traditional lands and waters; and

(ii) they maintain their cultural and heritage beliefs, languages and laws which are of ongoing importance; and

(iii) they have made and continue to make a unique and irreplaceable contribution to the State; and

(c) acknowledges that the Aboriginal peoples have endured past injustice and dispossession of their traditional lands and waters.

(3) The Parliament does not intend this section to have any legal force or effect.

Related documents

Time for Respect Discussion Paper (560 KB, PDF)

Time for Respect Discussion Paper translated into Yankunytjatjara by Rosemary Lester (599 KB, PDF)

SA Constitution Act 1934 (84 KB , PDF)

Advisory Panel Terms of Reference (27 KB, PDF)