Australia PM Albanese Condemns ‘Scare’ Tactics on Indigenous Reform – Apna TPO

Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Saturday attacked an opposition “scare campaign” against his plan to give Indigenous people a constitutional right to be consulted on laws that impact them.

Opinion polls show faltering support for the reform, which was proposed by Indigenous communities to give them a so-called Voice on policymaking as well as recognition in the constitution for the first time.

Australians will vote on it in a referendum expected in mid-October.

An Essential survey of 1,150 voters released last week put the “no” camp ahead for the first time with 47 percent against, 43 percent in favour and 10 percent undecided.

Other recent surveys indicated the “yes” side was slightly ahead despite a gradual decline over the past year.

To pass, the constitutional amendment needs a majority of votes in favour, both nationally and in most states.

Albanese said the conservative opposition Liberal Party had been “running a scare campaign about the Voice”.

Opposition leader Peter Dutton has warned that putting the Voice in the constitution would “change our whole system of government”.

But he has vowed to simply recognise Indigenous people in the constitution if he wins government.

– ‘Lift up all Australians’ –

Albanese described Dutton’s promise as “disingenuous”, saying he had been part of the previous conservative government that failed to give Indigenous people recognition in the constitution.

Supporters say the constitutional reform enshrining a Voice would help address the colonial legacy and inequalities faced by Aboriginal Australians, whose ancestors have lived on the continent for at least 60,000 years.

More than 200 years since British settlement and the ensuing persecution of Indigenous Australians, they are more likely to be poor, undereducated, sick or jailed.

But opponents say the proposal is divisive, lacks detail, adds unnecessary bureaucracy and risks clogging up the courts.

False claims have also been spread online, including one debunked by AFP’s Fact Check that Australians risked having their land taken away from them in case of a “yes” vote.

The prime minister urged Australians to seize the moment and vote for the reform.

“I say this: There is an opportunity to get constitutional recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people this year,” Albanese said.

A vote in favour of the constitutional change would “lift up all Australians”, he said.

“If not now, when?” he asked, warning that a “no” vote could put the question on the back burner for a long time to come.

“I say to Australians, this is an opportunity. Don’t miss it.”

(This story has not been edited by Apna TPO staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – AFP)

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