Australia to Hold Referendum on Indigenous Rights
The Australian Senate has voted in favor of a referendum on whether the Indigenous population should have a greater say in the parliament. The proposed constitutional amendment would give the Indigenous people of Australia an advisory voice in parliament. Currently, the Indigenous people are not mentioned in the country's Constitution.
The referendum is required by law to take place within the next two to six months. A date for the referendum has not yet been set. The proposed constitutional amendment is a central electoral promise of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
The proposed constitutional amendment would establish a body of Indigenous Australians to advise the government and the parliament on matters that affect them, such as health, education, or housing. The advice provided would not be legally binding but would hold enormous symbolic significance.
Opposition leader Peter Dutton opposes the constitutional amendment, saying that the advisory body would divide Australians along ethnic lines. Polls show a slim majority in favor of the amendment, but support has declined in recent weeks.