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Recognise Health was an initiative of the Lowitja Institute that promoted understanding of the important link between health and wellbeing and constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The initiative brought together a coalition of 134 non-government organisations across the Australian health system. With their particular perspective of health, these organisations signed a statement in support of constitutional change. The Institute worked closely with Recognise, the people’s movement to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution.
The fundamental premise of Recognise Health, that constitutional recognition is linked to health and wellbeing, is supported by evidence of the Legally Invisible — How Australian Laws Impede Stewardship and Governance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Laws research project. Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples would acknowledge the powerful sense of identity, pride, history and belonging to this land of Australia's First Nations. It would promote opportunities for full participation in all that Australia has to offer and be a significant step towards equity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia.
Recognise Health was launched at Parliament House in Canberra in March 2015. See launch videos.
We call on all Australians to support recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution. We look forward to a time when all Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people can fully participate in all that Australia has to offer, enjoying respect for our country’s first cultures and leadership, and the dignity and benefits of long healthy lives. Australia’s First Peoples continue to die far earlier and experience a higher burden of disease and disability than other Australians. This is a result of long term economic disadvantage and social exclusion, among other factors. Constitutional recognition would provide a strong foundation for working together towards better health and social wellbeing in the hearts, minds and lives of all Australians.
Why constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples matters for health