Landmark Indigenous Voice Referendum: Australians Reject Constitutional Change – The Ankole Times

Landmark Indigenous Voice Referendum: Australians Reject Constitutional Change

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Australia’s Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, concedes defeat in the nation’s significant referendum regarding an Indigenous Voice to Parliament. He commits to ongoing efforts to address challenges faced by First Australians.

Australia’s Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, conceded defeat in the landmark referendum held to establish an Indigenous advisory body to the federal parliament, commonly referred to as the “Indigenous Voice to Parliament.” The referendum results, which were announced after polls closed, indicated that the majority of Australians voted against changing the constitution to create this advisory body.

In his statement in Canberra on Saturday night, Albanese expressed his respect for the decision made by the Australian people through the democratic process, despite his personal hopes for a different outcome. He acknowledged that historical precedents suggested the difficulty of such a constitutional change, with only eight out of 44 similar attempts succeeding in the past. He emphasized that pursuing ambitious goals could sometimes lead to falling short, and the government acknowledges and respects the decision of the referendum.

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For the “yes” vote to succeed, it needed to achieve a double majority, requiring more than 50 percent of Australia’s 17.6 million enrolled voters and a majority in at least four of the country’s six states to vote in favor of the constitutional change. According to the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), with 60 percent of the votes counted as of 10 p.m. Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) on Saturday, 59 percent of Australians had voted “no,” including a majority in all six states.

Anthony Albanese, who has been a proponent of the Indigenous Voice since its initial proposal in 2017, called for unity among Australians to address the disparities faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. These disparities include lower life expectancy, higher incarceration rates, disease, and suicide rates compared to the non-Indigenous population. He stated that it is essential for a great nation like Australia to do better for the First Australians and affirmed the government’s commitment to closing the gap, advancing reconciliation, and listening to the First Australians.

Peter Dutton, the leader of the opposition Coalition parties and a prominent advocate for the “no” vote, welcomed the referendum’s outcome, describing it as “good for our country.” He highlighted that both “Yes” and “No” voters may hold differing opinions, but these differences should not diminish their love for their country or their regard for each other.

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