Prime Minister Tony Abbott is being urged to hand down the latest report card on efforts to close the gap on indigenous disadvantage in front of a joint meeting of both houses of federal parliament.
Mr Abbott is scheduled to give the sixth annual address next Wednesday.
Labor senator Deb O'Neill is spearheading the push to have a joint meeting to increase the prominence of the event.
"There's a symbolic power in what the parliament can do, when it rises to its best self," Senator O'Neill told AAP.
"We know that two babies born in this country today - one indigenous, one non-indigenous - are going to have vastly different lives."
The Senate signed off on the proposal for a joint meeting late last year.
The matter is before the lower house and in the hands of the Abbott government.
Senator O'Neill urged government MPs to support the move.
"We cannot look away," she said.
"I, for one, will not let the spotlight be turned to something else that might be more sexy, more titillating."
Senator O'Neill said the close the gap targets were "core work for Australia".
"We don't just do this for the benefit of our Aboriginal brothers and sisters, we do this because it's what a dignified Australia offers to all its citizens," she said.
She remembers her heart sinking while listening to last year's speech, when she was a lower house MP, which revealed progress on closing the life expectancy gap is lagging behind.
There is a life expectancy gap of 11.5 years between indigenous and non-indigenous men and 9.7 years between women.
The last joint meeting of parliament took place in 2011 when Barack Obama addressed parliament.
Former prime minister Kevin Rudd's 2008 apology to the stolen generation did not have a joint meeting.
After Mr Rudd's apology, federal, state and territory governments agreed on six ambitious targets to tackle indigenous disadvantage.
A spokesman for Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion dismissed Senator O'Neill's call as a "stunt" and said she had not complied with proper procedure.
"(A joint meeting) wouldn't achieve anything," he told AAP.
"It's already prominent."
He confirmed the government would vote against the motion in the lower house.
Liberal MP Ken Wyatt, the first indigenous Australian elected to the lower house, said he was happy with the status quo.
He would rather parliamentarians look at ways they could personally help close the gap in their own communities.
"I would like to see every member of the Australian parliament get out into their electorates and look at what's happening on the ground, by talking to Aboriginal communities," he told AAP.
Aboriginal people want to know what will happen on the ground to make a practical difference, Mr Wyatt said.