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About

Our Mission

RECOGNISE the need to change the Constitution - for meaningful recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and dealing with the racial discrimination in it.

Our role has a very specific focus. It is to raise awareness across the Australian community of the need to fix the Constitution.

The only way this change can happen is through a referendum.

More than 300,000 Australians from all walks of life have already declared their support for constitutional recognition.

RECOGNISE also has a goal of leaving a legacy of campaigning experience for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This will build skills and capacity for ongoing campaigning work in Indigenous Affairs and social justice.

RECOGNISE’s role is separate to the Referendum Council, whose job it is to advise the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition on progress and next steps towards a successful referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution.

RECOGNISE does not design the model nor set the date for the referendum – that decision is in the hands of the Government and the Parliament.

RECOGNISE was established in 2012 after the Expert Panel (consisting of a majority of Indigenous members) called for the establishment of a “properly resourced public education and awareness program“.

This mirrored a similar call by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission in 1995 for “a major public awareness program to create an environment for change and understanding of Indigenous Constitutional perspectives“.

RECOGNISE was established on the advice that early awareness is the best way to ensure a great change doesn’t fall victim to the “don’t know, vote no” scare campaigns that have defeated so many referendums in the past.

Only 8 out of 44 referendums have succeeded and some of the worst results occurred when there has been no attempt to raise public awareness of the need for a change. That’s why RECOGNISE has driven a strong national awareness campaign for the past five years. Over this time:

i. Awareness of the issue has almost doubled;

ii. Nearly 300,000 Australians have signed up to support a referendum and support has held steady;

iii. More than 77% of the general community support a change as does 87% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and

iv. The Journey to Recognition has travelled more than 39,000kms across the country, engaging with 273 communities through 365 events attended by 27,240 people.

v. More than 180 organisations have joined our partner network and RECOGNISE is connected to over 500 organisations that have signed Reconciliation Action Plans with our parent organisation, Reconciliation Australia.

vi. We have launched a national Field campaign with Field leaders, organisers and volunteers in every state and territory.

There are many other organisations campaigning on wider issues of importance to the First Australians. Many of these organisations also bring a specific focus to their work. It is the job of RECOGNISE to provide the focus and work towards constitutional change, to build supporters across the country and to keep our support base aware of progress on the campaign.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders will continue to work hard to protect the interests, survival and wellbeing of their communities, and many other Australians support this crucial work. As they navigate other challenges, it is compelling that our many campaign partners, leaders and community people also find time and energy to offer strong support and leadership in the movement towards constitutional change.

The Team

Mark Yettica Paulson

Campaign Director

Mark Yettica Paulson is Campaign Director for Recognise. Mark is an Aboriginal Australian from South East Queensland and North East New South Wales.

Mark is a community leader who has been a RECOGNISE ambassador since 2013. Over two decades Mark has worked across many areas of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs, working in leadership development and cultural mentoring.

His work has seen him lead projects to drive reconciliation within diverse organisations such as the AFL, NAB, Social Leadership Australia, the Foundation for Young Australians and with many other education, youth, community and church groups and corporates.

Our Board

RECOGNISE is a part of Reconciliation Australia, and we are governed by the Board of Reconciliation Australia.

Our Partners

 

RECOGNISE partners with a Network of organisations that support the meaningful recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution and dealing with the racial discrimination in it.

There are a number of groups and organisations across Australia that have offered in-principle support and/or offered in-kind support below:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation
  • Aboriginal Catholic Ministry
  • Aboriginal Health Council of SA
  • Aboriginal Legal Service NSW/ACT
  • Accor
  • ACTU
  • AFL – Adelaide
  • AFL – Brisbane
  • AFL – Carlton
  • AFL – Collingwood
  • AFL – Fremantle
  • AFL – Geelong
  • AFL – Gold Coast
  • AFL – Greater Western Sydney
  • AFL – Hawthorn
  • AFL – Melbourne
  • AFL – North Melbourne
  • AFL – Port Adelaide
  • AFL – Richmond
  • AFL – St Kilda
  • AFL – Sydney
  • AFL – West Coast
  • AFL – Western Bulldogs
  • AFL National
  • AFL- Korin Gamadji Institute – Richmond
  • Allens
  • Amnesty Internationa
  • Anglican Church of Southern Queensland
  • Anglican Diocese of Willochra
  • Anglican National Public Affairs Commission
  • Anglicare NSW South, NSW West & ACT
  • Anglicare SA
  • ANTaR National
  • ANU National Centre for Indigenous Studies
  • ANZ
  • Arnold Bloch Leibler
  • Attorney General’s Department
  • Australian Council of Social Services
  • Australian Education Union
  • Australian Human Rights Commission
  • Australian Indigenous Education Foundation
  • Australian Institute of Family Studies
  • Australian Olympic Committee
  • Australian Unity
  • B’nai B’rith Anti Defamation Commission
  • BHP Billiton
  • Bishop Druitt Colleg
  • Bupa
  • Cairns Regional Council
  • Cape York Institute
  • CaritasCbus
  • Central Land Council
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Children of the Night Markets
  • City of Ballarat
  • City of Devonport
  • City of Melbourne
  • City of Melton
  • City of Prospect Council
  • City of Sydney
  • City of Burnie
  • Commonwealth Bank
  • Community Legal Centres NSW
  • Cricket Australia
  • Curtin University
  • Discovery Holiday Parks
  • Don Dunstan Foundation
  • Early Childhood Australia
  • Edith Cowan University
  • Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria
  • Faith Communities Victoria
  • Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia
  • Foxtel
  • Fred Hollows Foundation
  • Free TV
  • Geelong One Fire
  • Generation One
  • GHD
  • Gilbert and Tobin Lawyers
  • Gippsland Community Legal Service
  • Girl Guides Australia
  • Greater Shepparton City Council
  • Herbert Smith Freehills
  • Human Rights Law Centre
  • IAG
  • Jewish Community Council of Victoria Inc
  • John Toohey Chambers
  • Johnson & Johnson Medical
  • KPMG
  • Lane Cove Council
  • Law Council of Australia
  • Law Institute of Victoria
  • Law Society of NSW
  • Lend Lease
  • Life Without Barriers
  • Lismore Council
  • Local Community Services Association (NSW)
  • Local Government Association of Australia
  • Lowitja Institute
  • MacDonnell Regional Council
  • Macquarie Bank
  • Medibank
  • Methodist Ladies College
  • Migrant Council of Australia
  • Moreland Council
  • Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network
  • Multicultural Council of Tasmania
  • NAB
  • NACCHO
  • National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers Association
  • National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission
  • National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Women’s Alliance
  • National Association of Community Legal Centres
  • National Association of Multicultural and Ethnic Children’s Services
  • National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE)
  • National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples
  • National Council of Churches Australia
  • National Ethnic Disability Association
  • National Gallery of Australia
  • National Sorry Day Committee
  • National Union of Students
  • Netball Australia
  • News Limited
  • Ninti one P/L
  • Northern Land Council
  • Nous Group
  • NRL
  • NRL – Cronulla Sharks
  • NRL – Newcastle Knights
  • NRL – West Tigers
  • NRMA
  • NSW Aboriginal Land Council
  • NSW Cancer Council
  • NSW Law Society
  • NSW Reconciliation Council
  • NSW Teachers Federation
  • Oxfam
  • Perpetual
  • Police Citizens Youth Clubs
  • Public Interest Advocacy Centre
  • Qantas
  • Randwick Council
  • Reconciliation Australia
  • Reconciliation NSW
  • Reconciliation QLD
  • Reconciliation SA
  • Reconciliation VIC
  • Reconciliation WA
  • Red Cross
  • Refugee Council of Australia
  • Rio Tinto
  • Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists
  • SEARCH Foundation
  • Settlement Council of Australi
  • Sodexo
  • South Australian Equal Opportunity Commission
  • Staples
  • Ted Noffs Foundation
  • Telstra
  • The Long Walk Trust
  • The Royal Australasian College of Physicians
  • The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
  • The Smith Family
  • The Uniting Church in Australia Queensland Synod
  • The University of Adelaide
  • The Wayward Chapel
  • Toyota
  • Uniting Church of Australia
  • Uniting Justice Australia
  • UnitingCare QLD
  • University of Canberra
  • University of NSW
  • University of Sydney
  • University of Tasmania
  • Val Morgan
  • Western Australia Council of Social Service
  • Westpak
  • Wirrpanda Foundation
  • Womens Legal Services NSW
  • Woodside (CTL)
  • Yothu Yindi Foundation

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