Thousands of Australians gathered in support of recognizing Indigenous people in the country's constitution, ahead of an upcoming referendum on the issue. The proposal aims to enshrine Indigenous rights and establish an advisory body for policy input. However, recent polls indicate it may face defeat, Reuters reported.
If passed on October 14, the measure would embed Indigenous recognition in the constitution, addressing long-standing disparities faced by Indigenous Australians, including discrimination, health, education, and high incarceration rates. The "Voice to Parliament" proposal, backed by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's Labor government, needs a national majority and majorities in at least four of Australia's six states to amend the constitution.
Yes23, the group organizing "Walk for Yes" events, reported around 20,000 participants in Brisbane, with rallies planned in major cities across the country. The rallies aimed to build support for the proposal, with attendees wearing "Vote Yes!" T-shirts and holding placards.
While most Indigenous people favor the referendum, some, like campaigner Warren Mundine, argue that it may not fully address underlying issues. Mundine emphasized the importance of accountability, employment, and education as key factors in resolving Indigenous challenges.
The upcoming referendum has sparked significant debate and engagement, with many hoping it will lead to meaningful change and rectify historical injustices faced by Indigenous communities. Since Australia's independence in 1901, only eight out of 44 proposed constitutional changes have been approved.
Australia's recognition of Indigenous people in the constitution remains a pivotal issue, addressing historical injustices and advocating for equality and inclusion.