Leaders pledge co-operation on recognition
Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese have pledged to work together on indigenous recognition as the new term of parliament begins.
But the prime minister rates stopping Australia's young indigenous people from killing themselves as a far higher priority than constitutional change.
He won't commit to a timetable for a referendum.
"There are two tracks: there's the practical track, which is about young people not killing themselves. And I must say, that's my higher priority," Mr Morrison told AAP.
"And there is also this important constitutional track, which is important for the country.
"That will happen at a pace in which there's agreement."
His government committed $7.3 million in the budget to design options for a Voice to Parliament, saying it would hold a referendum once the model was settled.
But while Labor highlighted constitutional recognition as part of its election campaign - releasing a plan for a Voice to Parliament and regional assemblies at its campaign launch - Mr Morrison talked more about youth suicide and mental health.
"I must admit my more immediate priorities in indigenous affairs is stopping young indigenous people committing suicide in remote communities, ensuring that they are going and staying in school, that there are employment opportunities for their parents, and that they're safe in their communities," he told AAP.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt - the first Aboriginal person to hold the portfolio - and Mr Morrison speak often about this practical agenda and the closing the gap initiatives.
However, there are still strong sections of the indigenous communities for whom recognition and the Voice to Parliament proposed in 2017's Uluru Statement are just as important.
Asked how he would engage an electorate that has become largely disillusioned with politics and convince voters that change was needed, Mr Morrison said firstly parliament had to work as a whole to achieve it.
"I'd like to see it come to fruition, I always have," he told AAP.
"The leader of the opposition and I, when we had our first initial conversation when I rang to congratulate him, this is an area that I think we can probably work together.
"But there's expectations of indigenous Australians as well and how they marry up with ... what can be taken forward."
Mr Albanese told the welcome to country ceremony ahead of Tuesday's opening of parliament that indigenous recognition is the first agenda on which parliament needs to co-operate.
"We will work with you. This thing can be done," he said in remarks addressed to Mr Morrison.
"We have been welcomed to this country today in such a generous spirit by such a hopeful heart and we should respond with courage, with kindness and with determination.
"Forty-five times we have opened the parliament in this country without a voice to parliament for the first nations of this great land. This 46th parliament should be the last time in which we do that."