Sydney, Australia, Dec 28 (EFE).- The Australian government announced on Wednesday that it would hold a referendum in 2023 aimed at including the country’s historically discriminated indigenous community in the constitution, offering it representation in institutions.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese pledged to organize the popular vote before December 2023, while speaking at a folk music festival in the northwestern Queensland province.
“This is an opportunity for all of us to be a part of enriching our nation and being even stronger in the future,” Albanese said, according to state broadcaster ABC.
The proposal, titled “Voice to Parliament” had been a campaign promise of Albanese before he came to power in May, and is aimed at ensuring greater participation of Australia’s indigenous people in national-level decision making,
The indigenous or aboriginal people, who account for 3.2 percent of Australia’s over 25 million people, have been victims of constant abuse since the continent’s colonization, apart from being dispossessed of their lands and systematically discriminated against by institutions, organizations and the society at large.
Indigenous Australians find no mention in the current constitution of the country, adopted in 1901.
“This will give respect to First Nations people, and it will enhance both the way Australians see ourselves, and the way we are seen by the world,” the prime minister said.
The Voice to Parliament would establish a constitutionally recognized body in charge of advising the government over the problems affecting native Australians, although few details of the project have been released yet.
In the same event, the minister of indigenous affairs, Linda Burney, said that the government does not want to get stuck into the details of the proposal, and the people will vote on “the principle, for Indigenous people to be guaranteed a fairer say on the laws and policies made about them.” EFE