JNow it’s official: A referendum will be held in Australia before the end of the year on a constitutional amendment that will give the indigenous population a vote in parliament. After the House of Representatives, which had already approved the referendum at the end of May, the Senate in Canberra also voted in favor of it with a large majority on Monday. The motto “Voice to Parliament” is about whether a body of indigenous Australians should advise the government in the future when it comes to questions about the country’s indigenous people.
After the vote, applause broke out in the Senate. The Minister for Indigenous Australia, Linda Burney, said the questioning would be about finally recognizing the 65,000-year-old history of the Indigenous peoples in the constitution. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese tweeted, “Together we can make history.” He had pushed the “voice referendum” since winning the May 2022 election. According to the media, it will probably be held in October.
Australia is currently very divided on the question of the indigenous people. In order to make a constitutional change possible, a “double” majority is also necessary: according to the election commission, more “yes” than “no” votes must be achieved not only at the national level – a majority of the six states and territories must also vote in favor of it , so at least four.
The indigenous people are not mentioned in the country’s constitution, passed in 1901. They were only granted civil rights in 1967. Indigenous people continue to be marginalized by large sections of the white majority, even though they have settled the country for tens of thousands of years. For many decades, following the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in January 1788 and the subsequent colonization of the continent, Aboriginal children were snatched from their parents. The so-called “stolen generation” had to grow up in homes or with white families.
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