In Australia, government prepares referendum to constitutionalize Indigenous advisory body

By Ross Stitt, 24 January 2023
Aboriginal flag (photo credit: Lukas Coch/AAP)
Aboriginal flag (photo credit: Lukas Coch/AAP)
[The Voice to Parliament] would be a constitutionally enshrined body that would enable Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders to provide non-binding advice to parliament and the federal government on policy matters affecting them. The Labor government has undertaken to hold a national referendum before the end of 2023 to ask Australians whether they support the creation of such a body. [...] The government has released a draft of the referendum question to be put to voters – “Do you support an alteration to the Constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?” It has also produced an indicative draft of the type of wording that would be added to the Constitution if the referendum is successful. Parliament would be empowered “to make laws with respect to the composition, functions, powers and procedures” of an indigenous “body” that “may make representations” to parliament and the government “on matters relating to” indigenous Australians.
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