Sunday, July 21, 2024

Towards organizing a referendum aimed at giving tribals a “voice” in Parliament


Australia’s Senate on Monday, June 19, gave the green light to a historic referendum system aimed at giving indigenous peoples a “voice” in parliament over plans to divide the country. The law, approved by 52 votes to 19, will allow Labor Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to set an earlier date for a referendum on revising the constitution.

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Mr Albanese’s government believes Australians have an opportunity to address centuries of injustice against Aboriginal people and give them a voice in decision-making. Aboriginal leader and Home Affairs Minister Linda Burney said the vote would be a “momentum for the country”. “I’m so emotional”she told ABC.

If passed, Australian aborigines, who have lived on the continent for at least sixty thousand years, would have a constitutional right to be consulted by the government on laws affecting their communities. About 900,000 of Australia’s 25 million people identify as Aboriginal and are represented in Parliament through an advisory body.

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“It’s about our identity as a nation.”Welcoming the adoption of the plan in the Senate, Mr. Albanese said. “Today, our Senate voted yes to the referendum system, workers greeted. (…) Now the Australian people will have an opportunity to say yes to reconciliation and constitutional recognition of First Nations peoples. »

“Silence White Crime”

But the ‘Voice in Parliament’ debate has become increasingly bitter, with Conservative Opposition Leader Peter Dutton denouncing the country’s racial divide. “It will have an Orwellian effect [qui verra] All Australians [être] Equally, but few Australians [être] equal to others”He said earlier this year.

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The plan was not unanimous among Aboriginal Australians. Independent Senator Lydia Thorpe, a prominent Aboriginal activist, said it was about creating one “Powerless Consultative System”. “That’s What It Is: Reducing White Crime in This Country.”she lamented on Monday.

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For more than a century, indigenous peoples have not been treated as full citizens, even though their rights are now enshrined in law, and deep inequalities remain. These minorities face extremely difficult living conditions, with limited access to health care and education, low life expectancy, low wages, and high rates of incarceration.

While early polls predicted a majority of Australians would vote in favor of the plan, recent surveys have shown support is waning as the political debate heats up. Aboriginal rights lawyer Pat Anderson also made the call “Maturity” In discussions. “Australians will decide what kind of country we are and what we stand forshe said. What are our values? Who are we? This is what we are going to vote on soon. »

The world with AFP