On October 14, Australians will cast ballots in a referendum that would write a system for Indigenous people to advise parliament on laws that affect their lives into the nation’s constitution. Supporters claim that including the so-called “Voice to Parliament” in the constitution will acknowledge the unique role that Indigenous Australians have played in Australian history and give them a voice in how the government makes decisions in Australia.
Its opponents claim that without addressing the grave injustices experienced by Indigenous people, it will split Australians along racial lines.
In Australia, the terms “indigenous” and “Torres Strait Islander people” are used to characterize people who are not of European descent. They are culturally distinct from one another. Indigenous people, who already number over 800,000 and will make up around 3.8 percent of the population. The most disadvantaged minority in the nation. Indigenous Australians experience disproportionately high rates of suicide, domestic violence, and incarceration. They have a life expectancy that is around eight years lower than that of non-Indigenous Australians.
To incorporate Native children into European society, efforts were made. Between 1910 and the 1970s by forcefully removing one-third of them from their homes. In 2008, the government issued an apology for the ‘Stolen Generation’.
Top sporting organizations, large businesses, religious organizations, and welfare organizations support the referendum campaign, which the government has bet a significant amount of political resources on. However, the topic has caused polarization in the public discourse. Subsequent surveys show a decline in support for the initiative. Voting “yes” will, according to supporters, aid in mending strained ties. The Aboriginal people and bringing the country together, and the advisory council will aid in giving priority to Indigenous health, education, jobs, and housing.
However, other opponents claim the change will create racial divisions in Australia and give the Indigenous body too much authority. Others have referred to the Voice as a toothless, metaphorical body. The conservative opposition Liberal Party announced that it will advocate for a “No” vote in the referendum, meaning that the plans were unable to get support from both parties.
A Difficult Referendum
In Australia, a ‘double majority’ must be achieved in order for a referendum to success. This means that it must receive support from a majority of voters in at least four out of the six states, as well as more than 50% of voters nationwide. Australians rejected the idea of amending the constitution. Australia into a republic in the most recent referendum, which took place in 1999. Supporters of the change ran campaigns across the nation. To engaging with citizens and providing them with more details about the proposal. The vote must receive the support of over 50% of voters nationwide. At least 50% of voters in the majority of states, or at least four out of the six.