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They have not been discussed for tens of thousands of years, and now they decide their future in a referendum
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They have not been discussed for tens of thousands of years, and now they decide their future in a referendum

Australians must vote on whether to support changing the constitution to include “Voice of Parliament”, an Indigenous committee that would make recommendations to the federal parliament on Indigenous issues.

In the island nation, the constitution can only be changed by referendum.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in Adelaide that the idea of ​​parliament voting comes from the people and the people can decide that in a referendum. On the day of the referendum, he added, there is an opportunity to unite the country, “which is only available once in a generation.”

Australia currently has no treaty with the country’s indigenous people, who make up 3.2% of the country’s 26 million people. The socioeconomic indicators of the indigenous population are also below average. Although they have lived in the area for more than 60,000 years, there is no mention of them in the Australian constitution, according to the MTI report.

Support is divided

The federal government is trying to do everything it can to make the referendum a success, but opinions are divided in the social debate: support for the proposal has waned in recent months.

Supporters believe that this move can strengthen relations with the indigenous people and create national unity, and can also bring indigenous education, health, housing and employment issues to the fore. However, the opposing camp believes that this step will lead to racial discrimination and could give the Indigenous Authority too much power. The argument that the constitutional amendment would be only symbolic also arose as a counterargument.

For the referendum to be valid, 50 percent of the vote must be obtained, and it must have the support of a majority of voters in at least four of the six states. To date, 44 proposals to amend the constitution have been decided in 19 referendums, and only eight have been voted on. The last referendum was held in 1999 on whether Australia should be declared a republic. Voters rejected it.

In New Zealand, Australia’s neighbor, a few years ago, the island nation’s indigenous Maori people entered Parliament during the presidency of Jacinda Ardern.

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