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A divided Australia will soon vote on the most significant referendum on Indigenous rights in 50 years

Sana Nakata writes in The Conversation (30.8.23) about the Prime Minister’s long-awaited announcement that the ‘Voice to Parliament’ referendum will be held on October 14, describing it as a national vote of generational significance.

‘Today, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced an October 14 date for a national referendum on whether to amend the Constitution to establish a new advisory body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

‘Called the “Voice to Parliament”, the new body would provide advice and make representations to parliament and the government on any issues relating to First Nations people. The Voice to Parliament has been toted as a vital step toward redressing Australia’s painful history of discrimination against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

‘The minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney, has said it would also remedy a “long legacy” of failed policies on a variety of issues, from the over-representation of First Nations people in the prison system to poorer outcomes for First Nations people in health, employment and education.

‘… Even after 1967, it remains clear that existing voting rights and political institutions alone cannot represent the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to the federal government.’

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