March 23 () –
The Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, has announced this Thursday the question of the referendum to update the Constitution and for the inclusion of aboriginal representation in Parliament.
“Bill Proposal: Amend the Constitution to recognize Australia’s First Peoples by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice. Do you approve of this proposed amendment?” reads the question posted by the Australian Government.
In addition, a clause is included that states that “Parliament, subject to this Constitution, has the power to enact laws with respect to matters related to the ‘Indigenous Voice’, including its composition, functions, powers and procedures,” as reported ‘The Sydney Morning Herald’.
Albanese, who has announced that his cabinet has approved the wording of the question, has thanked “all members of the working group” because “this moment has taken a long time to develop” and, despite this, “they have shown patience and optimism, as well as a spirit of cooperation and reflective and respectful dialogue”.
“The Aboriginal people and the Torres Strait Islanders ask the country for two simple things: recognition in the Constitution and a voice in Parliament,” the head of government said on his Twitter profile after the announcement.
“For so many, today is the result of years of patient and passionate work. Now the opportunity to make history and create a better future belongs to you, the people of Australia,” Albanese continued.
In this sense, the Australian ‘premier’ has declared in a press conference that it is an exciting day, since it treats of a question of justice, and feels an “incredible responsibility” in making a difference.
He has also stressed that it is “an opportunity” to recognize indigenous people, to “close the gap and show respect”, for which he has encouraged ‘non-indigenous’ Australians to vote in favor of the measure: ” This also concerns you, (…) it is about how our nation sees itself.”
In May 2017, more than 250 indigenous community leaders from across Australia gathered in the Uluru desert region to launch a declaration calling for the establishment of indigenous peoples representation in the Australian Constitution.
Thus, Anthony Albanese initially committed to holding said referendum already in his first words as prime minister during his speech after the electoral victory in May 2022.
To this day, the aboriginal question continues to be one of the burning issues in Australia, where indigenous communities do not share many of the norms contained in the Australian Constitution and therefore call for greater participation in government bodies.