INDIGENOUS recognition in the constitution should be prioritised over a plebiscite on same-sex marriage, according to shadow treasurer Chris Bowen in an interview with Sky News Australia’s Sunday Agenda.

Bowen argued that the plebiscite was unnecessary and advocated a parliamentary vote.

“It would be much better for the nation if we did what we’re paid to do… go into parliament, have a vote on our consciences,” Bowen said.

The Shadow Treasurer believed issues surrounding Indigenous Affairs weren’t being addressed because of this debate.

“I want to see the constitution recognise Indigenous Australians and I want to see that put forward in a bipartisan fashion as a matter of some priority,” Bowen said.

“Now while we’re having this debate about a plebiscite, we’re not discussing the important matter of Indigenous recognition in the constitution.

The nation can only deal with so many referendums or plebiscites at once and I think we’re focusing in the wrong way on the wrong issues here.”

Bowen reiterated that if any thing should be decided by the people, it should be Indigenous recognition.

“The parliament should be deciding marriage equality, the people should be deciding Indigenous recognition in the constitution,” the Shadow Treasurer said.

“While we’re having this debate about a plebiscite we’re not progressing the matter of Indigenous recognition in the constitution and I think that’s a shame.”

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