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Australians Vote on October 18 for The Voice
The call for a vote to recognise and give a voice to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia's affairs is a significant step towards addressing the historical injustices and ongoing challenges faced by these communities.
The proposed body, referred to as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, will be an advisory body with no legislative or executive power. Its main purpose will be to provide advice to the Australian Parliament and government on matters that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioners have proposed a four-step process for constitutional reform, which includes a new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition Act to set out the framework for the participation of Indigenous peoples, a commitment to achieve constitutional reform within five years, a negotiation process between parliamentarians, the government, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and strong accountability mechanisms.
The referendum proposal is in line with the principles outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which Australia endorsed in 2009. The UNDRIP recognises that Indigenous people have the right to participate in decision-making in matters that would affect their rights, and that governments should consult with Indigenous people before making laws that affect them.
In the context of the upcoming referendum, it is important to acknowledge the historical and ongoing challenges faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. These challenges include disproportionately high rates of incarceration, systemic socio-economic disadvantages, and the continued impact of the Stolen Generations.
The establishment of the Voice would be a significant step towards addressing these issues and promoting the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It would not only provide a platform for these communities to have a say in the policies and laws that directly affect them, but it would also help in promoting their unique culture and history.
However, the outcome of the referendum will depend on the will of the Australian people. It is crucial for Australians to understand and acknowledge the importance of this vote in promoting the rights and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
A YES vote in the referendum would be a major step towards recognising the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and addressing the injustices they have faced. It would also send a strong message of support for the principles of equality, justice, and respect for all cultures.
It's wonderful to be living in a democracy when everyone can vote as their conscience indicates. I fear that prejudice, disregard and suspicion still lingers in modern Australia and the NO vote will win. I hope I'm wrong, however if this happens at least the subject has been stoked by the debate. With TIME, patience and evolution, Multicultural Australia will eventually mature into a kind, fair and inclusive society.