In Australia’s first referendum in more than two decades, the vast majority of people appear to have voted “no” to recognize indigenous people. Australian media reported this news. Although the last polling stations have not yet closed, voiceless voters appear to have an insurmountable lead.
The country was deeply divided over Saturday’s referendum, in which Australians were asked to vote on whether they wanted to amend the constitution to recognize Aboriginal and Torres Strait Archipelago people as the country’s indigenous people. They can also speak out about including a special ‘voice’ for this group in Parliament, so that Indigenous people can have a say when policies that affect them are made.
Progressive Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had previously described the referendum as a “historic opportunity to unite Australians”, but many opposition parties opposed the proposal. Opponents fear that the “voice” this group will have in Parliament – in the form of an advisory committee that discusses issues affecting this ethnic minority – will actually increase racial inequality. They also fear that the committee will gain too much power.
The country’s two indigenous groups, Aborigines and a smaller group consisting of Torres Strait Islanders located between northern Australia and Papua New Guinea, comprise approximately one million people, about 3.8 percent of the total Australian population. They are very vulnerable. For example, they live on average almost nine years shorter than other Australians.
Read also this report before the referendum: Will Indigenous people have their own voice in the Australian Constitution? The historic referendum divides the country into two parts
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