Friday, July 19, 2024

Australians to vote on establishing Indigenous Voice to Parliament in referendum

Australians will vote on whether to establish an Indigenous Voice to Parliament after the Senate on Monday passed legislation to set up the poll.

The upper house of the federal parliament on Monday morning voted in favour of legislation that formally enables the referendum, ending months of official procedures, reports Xinhua news agency.

It will now be up to Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to set a date for the vote, which is expected to be late this year.

The historic poll will be Australia’s first referendum to change the wording of the country’s constitution since the failed 1999 republic referendum.

If successful, the vote will establish an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the constitution and recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as Australia’s First Peoples.

The independent voice body would advise parliament on matters relating to the social, spiritual and economic well-being of Indigenous Australians.

“Together, we can make history by enshrining recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our constitution,” Albanese said.

In order to be successful, a referendum must achieve a double majority “yes” vote, meaning more than half of voters nationwide and a majority in at least four out of six states must vote in favour.

“We are one step closer to finally recognizing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our nation’s founding document,” Linda Burney, the minister for Indigenous Australians, told reporters.

“One step closer to unifying Australia and making a great country even greater.”

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