Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks to the Australia Day citizenship ceremony in Canberra Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. Thousands of new Australian citizens are welcomed in ceremonies around the country today.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaks to the Australia Day citizenship ceremony in Canberra Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. Thousands of new Australian citizens are welcomed in ceremonies around the country today. AAP Image - Lukas Coch

PM's speech continues push for Indigenous recognition

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott is to push on with plans to have Indigenous Australians recognised in the Constitution, using his Australia Day message to call for a "national conversation" on the matter.

Mr Abbott said the national day celebrated "two rich strands of history: A british heritage and an Aboriginal one".

"Twenty-three million of us have found unity in our diversity, respect in our differences and have built a modern nation on the idea that any can get ahead provided they are prepared to have a go," he said.

"We are a great country and a great people.

"We believe in work, family, community, doing things for love not just money, and living our ideals."

Mr Abbott said alongside 2014 being the Centenary of the Anzac, it was also time to have Aboriginal peoples established as the first Australians in the constitution.

"This should be another unifying moment in the history of our country," he said.

"On this day and every day, we celebrate the history that has made us who we are; the country that we love and the values and institutions that underpin it."

Mr Abbott told reporters he hoped the constitutional changes would be made as soon as possible, with wording to be considered from September.


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