NewsAustralia gets referendum on Aboriginal rights – DW – 06/19/2023

    Australia gets referendum on Aboriginal rights – DW – 06/19/2023

    To this day, the indigenous population in Australia mostly lives on the fringes of society. The Aborigines also have little say in politics. That could change in the future. Australia’s parliament has cleared the way for a referendum on indigenous rights. The Senate voted by a large majority for a referendum. After the vote, there was great applause. The Chamber of Deputies had already approved the vote.

    Under the motto “Voice to Parliament” it is about whether in the future a body of indigenous Australians will advise the government on issues affecting the indigenous people. Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders are to be involved in drafting laws. If the referendum is successful, the descendants of the Australian Aborigines will also be recognized in the constitution for the first time.

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    Prime Minister praises the decision

    The proponents hope that the indigenous population will be strengthened by the possible innovations. “It’s about who we are as a nation,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said. The Australian people now have the chance to say “yes to reconciliation and yes to constitutional recognition” of the indigenous population. Now is the chance to make history. Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney said it was about finally acknowledging the 65,000-year-old history of Aboriginal peoples in the constitution.

    Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese supports the referendumImage: Mick Tsikas/AAP/dpa/picture alliance

    But among the Aborigines themselves, attitudes towards the project are divided. Critics see the planned representation of indigenous people as merely a bureaucratic institution with no real influence. Senator Lidia Thorpe, a well-known tribal rights activist, has described the agency as a “powerless advisory body” and criticized it as “all to appease the guilt of white people in this country.”

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    Vote probably later this year

    Of the approximately 26 million Australians, almost one million are Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders – as the indigenous people of the islands of the same name are called. Polls are currently predicting a majority for the referendum. The referendum is expected to take place later this year. However, a date has not yet been set.

    It is estimated that Aboriginal Australians settled the continent at least 60,000 years ago. After the first British settlers arrived in the late 18th century, they were oppressed and discriminated against. In some states and territories, Native Americans did not have the right to vote as late as the 1960s. The 1901 Constitution makes no mention of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. The indigenous population continues to be marginalized by large sections of the white majority. Most live on the fringes of society.

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    cwo/sti (afp, dpa, rtr)

    Source: DW

    This post is posted by Awutar staff members. Awutar is a global multimedia website. Our Email: [email protected]


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