Australia to hold referendum to include Aboriginals in the constitutional processes, to vote on October 14

Australia to hold referendum to include Aboriginals in the constitutional processes, to vote on October 14


On Wednesday, 30th August 2023, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced that the historic indigenous rights referendum will take place on October 14. This momentous event is poised to mark a defining juncture in Australia’s relationship with its Aboriginal minorities.

Declaring the date scheduled for the compulsory voting, Anthony Albanese said, “On that day, every Australian will have a once-in-a-generation chance to bring our country together, and you change it for the better. I ask all Australians to vote yes.”

The prime question asked in this referendum is – “A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognize the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Do you approve this proposed alteration?”

Should the referendum garner approval, it will signify a historic milestone, as Indigenous Australians, whose lineage on the continent spans over 60,000 years, will be acknowledged within the nation’s constitution for the first time. Moreover, the Aboriginal community would secure a constitutionally anchored entitlement popularly known as their “Voice to Parliament” granting them the right to participate in the consultation of laws affecting their communities.

Constitutional reform in Australia necessitates a national referendum, a process known for its complexity. To succeed, a referendum must secure over 50% of the nationwide vote and garner majority support in at least four out of six Australian states. Historically, Australia has seen 44 proposals for constitutional change and 19 referendums, with only eight achieving passage.

A potential failure of this particular referendum is apprehended to have far-reaching consequences. It could harm interracial relations, stain Australia’s global image, and miss a unique chance to address long-standing inequality issues.

Australia lacks a treaty with its indigenous population, which constitutes approximately 3.2% of the country’s nearly 26 million inhabitants. Across various socio-economic indicators, the Aboriginal community trails below national norms. Despite their pre-colonial presence on the continent predating European migration, the constitution omits any reference to Aboriginal people. The Australian government is actively backing the success of the referendum.

According to a report by Reuters, opinion polls showed a decrease in support for the referendum in recent months. Advocates of the proposal contend that a ‘yes’ vote will contribute to reconciling with the Aboriginal population and fostering national cohesion. Conversely, opponents argue that such an outcome could exacerbate racial divisions within Australia and grant disproportionate authority to the Indigenous community.


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