Aboriginal timeline: Recognition

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  1. The Irish Australian embassy on Dublin’s St Stephen Green makes history by being among the first Australian diplomatic outposts to permanently fly the Aboriginal flag. (Some Aboriginal people live in Ireland, and about 5% of Australia's Aboriginal people reported Irish ancestry in the 2016 Census.)

  2. The Reserve Bank of Australia becomes an inaugural member of the International Central Bank Network for Indigenous Inclusion. The Te Pūtea Matua (Reserve Bank of New Zealand), Bank of Canada and the Reserve Bank of Australia formed this voluntary network on 1 January 2021 to share knowledge and best practices, promote engagement with Indigenous Peoples and foster greater understanding and education about Indigenous economic issues and histories. The network's inaugural meeting is on 2 June 2021.

  3. Exactly four years after it was released, the Uluru Statement from the Heart is awarded the Sydney peace prize for 2021. The judging panel said the Uluru statement was a “powerful and historic offering of peace” and a “clear and comprehensive agenda for healing and peace within our nation”.

  4. The ABC’s current affairs program 7.30 starts using Aboriginal place names when it introduces places on its program to improve representation of the Aboriginal community in its programming and make the public use more frequently Aboriginal names, voices and languages. The names are shown on the straps across the screen that appear in the news and sit alongside the official government name for cities and towns.

  5. Australia Post launches new packaging with a dedicated space for traditional Aboriginal place names above the street address, following up on an update to their addressing guidelines in November 2020. The new parcel post designs and express post satchels also include an Acknowledgment of Country.

  6. Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt releases the Indigenous Voice Co-design Process Final Report and announces the next steps to establish Local & Regional Voices.

    The Indigenous Voice Co-design Process commenced in October 2019. Through the design stage, three co-design groups comprising 52 members from around the country, developed the detail of what an Indigenous Voice could look like and how it could work. During the consulting stage, more than 9,400 people, communities and organisations provided feedback on the proposals in discussions around the country and online through surveys and submissions.


  1. The NSW government decides to permanently replace the NSW flag on the Sydney Harbour Bridge with the Aboriginal flag, abandoning a plan to install a third flag pole at a cost of $25m. The change is effective immediately.

  2. The Prime Minister Anthony Albanese uses a Garma festival speech to suggest the question for a referendum on a First Nations voice to parliament:

    Proposed question: "Do you support an alteration to the constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?"

    Proposed words added to the Constitution:

    • There shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to parliament and the executive government on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
    • The parliament shall, subject to this constitution, have power to make laws with respect to the composition, functions, powers and procedures of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
  3. The Australian government scraps the requirement for citizenship ceremonies to be held on Australia Day (January 26). Councils can now schedule ceremonies to take place between January 23 and 29. A number of councils had already rescheduled their ceremonies to other days.


  1. The Reserve Bank of Australia announces that it will update the $5 banknote to feature a new design that honours the culture and history of the First Australians. The new design will replace the portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The other side of the $5 banknote will continue to feature the Australian Parliament.

    I welcome the decision taken by the independent Reserve Bank to ensure that the new $5 note recognises and celebrates the culture and history and heritage of Indigenous Australians.

    — Jim Chalmers, Treasurer
  2. The government announces the constitutional amendment and proposed Voice to Parliament referendum question:

    "A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Do you approve this proposed alteration?"

    The amendment and question were developed in consultation with the First Nations Referendum Working Group.

  3. The Constitution Alteration (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice) 2023 Bill introduces the proposed constitutional amendment into Parliament. A Joint Select Committee on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice Referendum will consider the Bill, accept public submissions and report by mid-May 2023.

  4. The Constitution Alteration (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice) Bill that authorises the national referendum on the First Nations Voice passes the Senate 52 votes to 19, confirming the wording of the constitutional change to be put to Australians. This means the referendum must now be held in two to six months.

  5. Across Australia, tens of thousands of people attend events to show their support for the referendum and for Australians to vote 'yes'. Supporters take home more than 25,000 yard signs ('Vote Yes') to showcase their support.

  6. The Australian Electoral Commission sends out referendum booklets to all households with a guide on how to vote and the full 'Yes' and 'No' campaign pamphlets.

  7. At a large community rally in Adelaide, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announces the referendum date as the 14 October, kickstarting a campaign to change Australia’s constitution for the first time in nearly half a century.

    On that day, every Australian will have a once in a generation chance to bring our country together. And to change it for the better. To vote for recognition, listening and better results.

    — PM Anthony Albanese


View article sources (6)

[1] 'Uluru Statement from the Heart awarded 2021 Sydney peace prize', The Guardian 21/5/2021
[2] 'Anthony Albanese reveals ‘simple and clear’ wording of referendum question on Indigenous voice', The Guardian Australia 30/7/2022
[3] 'Media Release: New $5 Banknote Design', Reserve Bank of Australia 2/2/2023
[4] 'King Charles won’t be on our next $5 note', SMH 2/2/2023
[5] Yes Campaign newsletter, 3/7/2023
[6] The Guardian, available at www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2023/aug/30/australia-news-live-updates-indigenous-voice-to-parliament-referendum-date-politics-anthony-albanese-china-climate-report-cost-of-living

Cite this page

Korff, J 2024, Aboriginal timeline: Recognition, <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/history/australian-aboriginal-history-timeline/recognition?page=4&//&///>, retrieved 25 July 2024

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