Australia’s Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, has proposed a new addition to the country’s constitution that would include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who are not currently recognized in the existing constitution. While these groups represent 3.2% of the population, they are not mentioned in the current document.
The proposed addition would create a new chapter in the constitution that recognizes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia. This would also establish a new body, called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, which would be able to make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on issues pertaining to these communities. The referendum question that Albanese plans to put to Australians is: “A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognize the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Do you approve this proposed alteration?”
If the proposed changes are approved, the Australian Parliament will have the power to make laws with respect to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its composition, functions, powers, and procedures.
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