Australian prime minister says referendum on constitutionalizing Indigenous advisory body expected before end of 2023

By Finn McHugh, 21 February
Aboriginal Flag (photo credit: Lukas Coch/AAP)
Aboriginal Flag (photo credit: Lukas Coch/AAP)
[Prime Minister Anthony] Albanese told Triple M radio on [21 February] the referendum [to enshrine the Voice, an Indigenous advisory body,] will be held between October and December. [...] Broadly, Australians will be asked whether they want to enshrine the Voice into the constitution. [The Voice will be] made up of Indigenous Australians wh[o] will provide the federal government input on the creation of policy impacting First Nations Australians. It would not have the power to veto legislation passed by parliament. The wording of the question is yet to be finalised, but will be in the referendum bill put to parliament. [...] The bill to actually hold a referendum will be put to parliament in March, and is [likely] to pass. That's because if it doesn't pass the Senate, where Labor does not hold a majority, it can pass the House of Representatives twice. But Labor will also try to pass another bill — the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Amendment Bill 2022 — which would modernise the way referendum votes are held. That's because, while the laws for federal elections are regularly updated, the rules surrounding referendums haven't been updated since the last time Australians voted on whether to change the constitution — 1999. The bill would allow for things like early and postal voting, which are already commonplace at federal elections, and update a range of other matters, like financial disclosure requirements. This one does need to pass both houses.
Read the full article here: SBS News


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