Australia refuses to recognize indigenous Aborigines, Torres Strait Islanders in the constitution

 – Gudstory

Australia refuses to recognize indigenous Aborigines, Torres Strait Islanders in the constitution – Gudstory

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Australians have rejected recognition of indigenous peoples – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – in the constitution, thwarting plans to amend the country’s 122-year-old constitution after a divisive and racist referendum campaign.

At least 55 percent of Australians – the majority of whom are white – voted “no” to acknowledge indigenous citizens in the Constitution for the first time.

If passed, the reforms would have created an advisory body to consider legislation affecting indigenous communities. The reforms will also help address social and economic inequality in Australian society.

Although the reforms were supported by the country’s centre-left government, they were widely expected to lose based on opinion polls. Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles conceded defeat in the evening, saying, “The Australian people did not vote for a change to the Constitution.”

Reacting to the result, Indigenous Australians expressed anger and pain that the white majority had rejected calls to recognize the country’s colonial past.

“It’s a tough result, it’s a very tough result,” said Yes23 campaign director Dean Parkin. “We did everything we could and we will come back from this,” he said.

More than two centuries after British ships reached Sydney, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has presented the reforms as a step towards promoting racial reconciliation.

Indigenous leader Thomas Mayo expressed anger at the handling of the “No” campaign, which was supported by Conservative opposition leader Peter Dutton.

He has lied to the Australian people. In our democracy, Australians must not forget this dishonesty. This type of behavior must have consequences in our democracy. They should not get away with this,” he said.

An Australian for the “No” campaign said she was “fighting to keep an extra layer of bureaucracy out of our Constitution”, while insisting she was “not racist”.

(with agency input)

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Updated: October 14, 2023, 04:25 PM IST


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