In a historic referendum, a majority of Australians rejected greater political rights for Indigenous people in the future.
According to preliminary results, about 58 percent of participants voted “no” in Saturday’s referendum, the Australian Electoral Commission said after more than half of the votes were counted.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced the result on Saturday evening local time and confirmed this Voters’ decision It must be respected.
In his address to the nation, the 60-year-old Prime Minister admitted that he did not expect this outcome, but added: “We have to find a new way.” He mentioned that
She continues to work for Indigenous reconciliation and to end divisions in Australian society.
Australians had to decide whether they supported changing the constitution to include a “Voice of Parliament”, an Aboriginal committee that would make recommendations to the federal parliament on Aboriginal issues.
The plan was opposed by many conservative opponents, but not all indigenous people supported it either, because many believed that this solution was not sufficient to represent their interests.
Australian aborigines have lived on the continent for 65 thousand years. However, after the colonization of Australia, they were not granted civil rights at all until 1967. Even today, they live in a disadvantaged situation. About 25 million Australians today
Four percent identify as indigenous.
Indigenous rights experts say the outcome of the referendum could affect Australia’s global reputation, with some saying the country has fallen behind other countries such as New Zealand, Canada and the United States in ensuring indigenous rights.
In the past, Australians have voted on 44 constitutional amendments in 19 referendums, of which only eight have been approved. In the last referendum before Saturday, voters refused to declare Australia a republic.
Featured image: Participants in the referendum on constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians in Sydney on October 14, 2023. (Photo: MTI/EPA/AAP/Toby Zerna)