Australian Legislation Rejects Proposal for Indigenous Self-determination. A plan to include recognition of Aboriginal people in the national constitution and create an official body to advise parliament on matters pertaining to Indigenous people and their right to self-determination has been turned down by Australia. If the referendum had been approved, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice would have been established.
On October 14, 2023, the Australian Indigenous Voice Referendum 2023 took place. Rejected nationwide and by a majority in every state, the plan did not receive the two-thirds majority required for alteration under section 128 of the Constitution. The Australian Capital Territory was the only state or territory to receive a majority of "yes" votes. In 2017 the Voice came into action by a historical document called the ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart’. The statement was drafted by more than 250 Indigenous leaders who were Australia's First Nation people but continue to suffer in poor health and face discrimination economically and socially. Response from Australians Following the referendum, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese urged people to treat one another with kindness. "We are not defined by this argument right now. And it won't separate us," he said.
Critics claim that Indigenous people are currently fairly represented in parliament. There are currently 11 Indigenous members of parliament, representing 4.8% of the total and somewhat more than the overall percentage of Indigenous Australians. The Voice counters that a dedicated body for Aboriginal affairs was necessary since MPs do not usually represent Indigenous issues; rather, they represent certain districts.
Self-determination of Indigenous People
Self-determination is a collective right exercised by the people. Indigenous people are recognized by international law as having the right to self-determination in Articles 3 and 4 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Indigenous peoples have the right to "independent decision-making, self-government, and institutional self-reliance," which is recognized by their right to self-determination. This includes the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, who long before the colonisation practised self-determination and self-government for tens of thousands of years.
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