“ACM is seen as the most influential organised opponent to constitutional change and its decision not to outright oppose the idea is a key to the success of a referendum for indigenous recognition expected in 2017”, writes Dennis Shanahan in a front-page report in The Australian on 16 February 2015.
ACM was responding to the Prime Minister who in the 2014 Neville Bonner Oration in late November last year had issued this ardent appeal “I invite the friends of the Constitution to suspend scepticism.”
ACM’s submission is essentially about process and takes no position on any of the proposed changes which have been raised by various parties.
In what Mr Shanahan describes as a “constructive proposal,” ACM does not declare “any outright opposition to indigenous recognition in the Constitution, strongly supports an elected convention to ensure the public is involved from the beginning and says the proposal of a Declaration of Recognition, put to the committee by conservative lawyers and writers Damien Freeman and Julian Leeser could be a longer-term step “towards constitutional recognition”.
The convention could also discuss other relevant constitutional issues including the state of the federation.
Professor David Flint and Jai Martinkovits appeared before the Joint Select Committee on Friday 20 February to speak to the submission.