Indigenous Law Bulletin
by Karen Struthers
The consolidation of the Queensland constitution has been ongoing for many years. Much of this work culminated in the report of the Queensland Constitutional Review Commission (the ‘QCRC’) tabled in the Queensland Parliament on 29 February 2000. One of the recommendations of the QCRC was that during the life of the next Parliament, the Legal, Constitutional and Administrative Review Committee (the ‘LCARC’) ‘conduct an inquiry into the possibility of special representation for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.’ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the original inhabitants of Australia and represent more than three percent of the Queensland population. Yet only one Indigenous person has ever been elected to the Queensland Parliament – Mr Eric Deeral.
The LCARC considers the issue to be an important one and has acted on the recommendation of the QCRC. The LCARC released an issues paper in December 2002. This paper sets out the background to the inquiry, and examines strategies that might enhance the participation of Indigenous people in Queensland’s democratic processes. The five strategies outlined in the issues paper are as follows:
The issues paper discusses each of these strategies in more detail, outlines advantages and disadvantages of each and raises issues for comment. The committee hopes that the issues paper will stimulate discussion and that people will make submissions that generate further options for the committee to consider. Over the coming months the committee will undertake face-to-face consultation with relevant organisations and in communities throughout Queensland.
Although the inquiry relates to the Queensland Parliament, the committee is interested to hear the views of Indigenous Law Bulletin readers on this important issue. The first round of submissions to the inquiry closes Friday, 28 March 2003. Further rounds of submissions will be invited throughout the inquiry. Please join our subscriber list at http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/Committees/LCARC/LCARCHandsonParl.htm if you would like updates about the inquiry.
Information about the inquiry, including the issues paper can be found at http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/Committees/LCARC/LCARCHandsonParl.htm or by contacting the committee secretariat on (07) 3406 7909.
Karen Struthers is a member of the Queensland Parliament and the Chair of the Legal, Constitutional and Administrative Review Committee.
 Queensland Constitutional Review Commission, Report on the possible reform of and changes to the Acts and laws that relate to the Queensland constitution (2000).