Bill Shorten is promising indigenous Australians a "partnership" rather than paternalism and interventions.
The Labor leader wants First Australians acknowledged in the constitution and says he's open to a Voice to Parliament.
"I'm open to a process which would see proper reconciliation in this country," Mr Shorten told reporters in Perth on Wednesday.
"We've tried everything else with our First Australians. We've tried telling them what to do. We've tried taking their kids away from them.
"We've tried chucking them into jail. We've tried interventions. We've tried paternalism.
"I've got a new plan. I'm going to try partnership."
Tony Abbott named himself the "indigenous affairs" prime minister, spending time each year working in outback communities.
Malcolm Turnbull kept the portfolio in the prime minister's department, and Mr Shorten named himself shadow indigenous affairs minister.
But Prime Minister Scott Morrison can't say who will be his indigenous affairs minister after the election, following the retirement of Nigel Scullion.
"I will make that decision after the election, should we be elected," he told reporters in Geelong.
Senator Pat Dodson will be Labor's choice if the party wins on Saturday, making him the first indigenous man to serve in the role.
Mr Morrison said a select committee was working on a model for a Voice to Parliament from the ground up, but his priority was addressing youth suicide and education in indigenous communities.
"The thing that focuses my mind most, when it comes to indigenous issues, is I want young girls to stop killing themselves in regional, remote communities," he told reporters.
"It grieves my soul."