ABORIGINAL Australians have a right to self determination and the federal government should formally recognise this, according to Geoff Clark.
The activist and former ATSIC chairman said this would a hot topic at next week’s Indigenous constitutional convention at Uluru, which he is attending.
“Self determination is a must,” Mr Clark said.
He believes the government needs to support the formation of an overarching body to ensure this happens.
“Aboriginal people need to be able to manage their own affairs,” Mr Clark said.
He will also push for dedicated seats in parliament for Aboriginals.
Mr Clark said he believed there was greater awareness about the issues Aboriginals face.
“I think the attitudes of the broader community have softened,” he said.
“People are talking about issues they wouldn’t normally talk about.”
However, he believes the next step is to ensure there is a “unified Aboriginal voice”.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have "respectfully declined" an invitation to attend the Indigenous constitution convention at Uluru, wary that their presence could reduce the prospects of a successful outcome.
"The focus of next Friday should be on the hard work done so far," Mr Shorten told Fairfax Media.
"The day belongs to the communities right across the nation who have given us the benefit of their wisdom.
"The next step is taking the vision presented in the heart of our nation to the home of our democracy. The Prime Minister and I are united in our determination to achieve constitutional recognition for the first Australians."