Published On: October 17th, 2023
Australia’s voice-to-parliament referendum became essential in the country’s political landscape. It is because the referendum returned a majority ‘no’ result. It aimed to establish the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament and incorporate it into the constitution. However, the shocking outcome has posed critical questions regarding the government’s approach to indigenous affairs.
Table of Contents
What is Australia’s Voice to Parliament proposal?
The proposal states that Voice Australia 2023 will “make representations” to MPs and policymakers for any matter associated with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. However, parliament would have the power to decide on the Voice’s composition, functions, controls and procedures if the referendum had passed.
The 2023 Australian Indigenous Voice referendum wanted to create a constitutionally recognised body. It aimed to provide indigenous Australians with a formal avenue for input into the decision-making processes in the country. This proposal was a broader initiative associated with Voice, Treaty, and Truth.
Voice Referendum Live Results
The voice-to-parliament referendum results are clear and definitive.
The majority of Australians voted ‘no.’ According to the latest reports, around 60% of the population rejected the proposal.
Consequences of the Results
Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had expressed the government’s commitment to implement the Uluru Statement from the Heart. However, with the rejection of the voice to parliament referendum, the government must explore alternative ways to address indigenous affairs. The National Indigenous Australians Agency had identified the Uluru Statement from the Heart as a priority over the next four years. However, the agency’s agenda depends on government policy, which requires reevaluation.
Coalition’s Stand on the Voice Australia 2023
The coalition intends to legislate local and regional voice bodies. However, the status remains pending until these leaders win the next federal election. It also suggests a potential shift towards a more localised approach to indigenous representation, distinct from the rejected voice-to-parliament referendum proposal.
Challenges for Indigenous Leaders
As mentioned earlier, the Voice Australia 2023 had returned a majority ‘no’ result. But did it impact only the Australian government? No. The Voice to Parliament referendum result tremendously affected the indigenous leaders and campaigners who supported the ‘yes’ campaign earlier. Many leaders, like Marcia Langton and Noel Pearson, have indicated their intention to step back from public life following the referendum’s defeat. So, their involvement in advancing the Makarrata Commission, a critical component of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, also remains uncertain.
The Future After Voice Referendum Live Results
Opposition leader Peter Dutton had pledged earlier to hold a second referendum on the constitutional recognition of indigenous people. He had promised this, given that he would win the government in the upcoming election. So, it implies that indigenous representation will continue to be a central theme in Australian politics despite the voice-to-parliament referendum failing in 2023.
During the campaign, the ‘No’ campaigners had also expressed their desire to change the Australian national holiday. They advocate for moving Australia Day away from January 26. It is because the date is also associated with the controversy for indigenous Australians. There were also suggestions that a treaty process may gain traction following the ‘no’ vote. Although these topics become uncertain in the future, they may become a part of significant discussions in the broader context of indigenous rights and recognition in Australia.
The voice-to-parliament referendum has brought forth critical challenges for political leaders. It also signifies the beginning of a new chapter in the ongoing political landscape of Australia.
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