Australia PM Unveils Crucial Details On Constitutional Referendum

0 661

Australia’s leader has unveiled crucial details of a planned referendum which could see it change its constitution for the first time in almost 50 years.

If approved, the vote later this year would establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice – a formal body for Indigenous people to give advice on laws.

PM Anthony Albanese argues it would be a “very simple” but “momentous” change.

Constitutional referendums are fairly rare – only eight of 44 have succeeded.

The Voice is being fiercely debated with support and opposition across the political spectrum.

The Voice was recommended by a historic document in 2017 called the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Drafted by more than 250 Indigenous leaders, the statement is considered the best – though not unanimous – call to action for reforms which affect First Nations Australians.

On Thursday, Mr Albanese announced the proposed wording for a question to be put to Australians in a compulsory vote.

A proposed law to alter the constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Do you approve this proposed alteration?

In an emotional speech, Mr Albanese said the Voice would enshrine “recognition” that Australians “share this great island continent with the world’s oldest continuous culture.”

Our nation’s birth certificate should recognise this and be proud of it,” he added.

Standing alongside, Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney spoke of how she had spent the first 10 years of her life “not being counted.”

The proposal, still to be debated in parliament, states the Voice will “make representations” to MPs and policy makers “on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

However, parliament would have the power to decide on the Voice’s composition, functions, powers and procedures.


BBC /Shakirat Sadiq

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.