In a recent referendum, Australians decisively voted against a proposed reform to the country’s constitution that sought to recognise its Indigenous inhabitants. The results showed that the proposal to establish an “Indigenous Voice to Parliament” failed to obtain the necessary majority.
Out of the voters, 60 percent were against the reform, while 40 percent supported it. Among the nation’s six states, all but one rejected the proposal. Victoria had the highest number of supportive votes at 46 percent, while Queensland registered the lowest with 32 percent.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese vowed to persist with reconciliation initiatives, stating that this referendum was not the end of their efforts to unify the nation.
Australia’s Indigenous population constitutes approximately 3.8 percent of the total 26 million citizens and has a rich history spanning over 65,000 years. Despite this, they are not recognised in the constitution and face disparities in various sectors, including health and housing. Advocates believe that incorporating an Indigenous representation in the constitution would foster national reconciliation, while detractors argue it could be divisive.
Historically, out of 44 referendums since Australia’s foundation in 1901, only eight have been successful. The latest referendum was the country’s first since the republic proposal was turned down nearly 25 years ago.
A significant misinformation campaign preceded this vote, raising concerns about the role of fake news in Australia. False claims circulated on social media suggested the proposed “Indigenous Voice to Parliament” would lead to a third parliamentary chamber and disproportionately benefit Aboriginal communities financially.
Prime Minister Albanese criticised certain media segments for deviating the discussion from the primary issues of the referendum.