Sydney, Australia, Aug 30 (EFE).- Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced Wednesday a referendum for October 14 on the recognition of aboriginals in the country’s constitution by creating a consultative body to give them a voice in matters of concern.
“On that day, all Australians will have a unique opportunity to unite our country,” Albanese said from the southern city of Adelaide, adding that a “yes” vote is a “way for all of us to recognize indigenous Australians and their history in our constitution.”
This initiative seeks to create a body made up of members elected by the indigenous communities to provide independent advice to parliament on matters related to indigenous people and give them greater participation in decision making.
If the “yes” vote wins, the proposed body will be part of a new three-point chapter to be included in the 1901 constitution, titled “Reconciliation with Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islanders.”
Albanese said the body would be “a practical way for Aboriginal people to address their issues” so that they can achieve what every other Australian wants for their children: “to be healthy, to be well in school, find a job they like, be secure and lead a fulfilling life.
“Voting ‘no’ closes the doors to this opportunity to move forward” and “means that nothing changes,” Albanese said, to the applause of some 400 people, including aboriginal representatives, present at this act broadcast by public channel ABC.
The referendum has the particularity that to prosper it must achieve a majority among all the votes cast in the nation and also have achieved victory in four of the six states that make up Australia.
An opinion poll by consultancy firm Resolve and published earlier this month by the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, showed 46 percent would vote “yes” compared to 54 percent of “no” votes without taking into account the percentage of undecided voters.
The initiative only has majority support in the states of Victoria, the second most populous in the country, and Tasmania.
The constitutional recognition of aboriginal people is one of the promises of Albanese’s electoral campaign during the 2022 elections, which he won driven by a strong climate and social agenda.
Aboriginals, who represent 3.8 percent of the more than 26 million people in Australia, have been victims of constant mistreatment since colonization, being dispossessed of their lands and systematically discriminated against by institutions, organizations and general society. EFE