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Indigenous leaders are calling on the next Australian government for a referendum on a First Nations Voice To Parliament within the next two years, stating ‘the time has come’.
The Guardian reports creators of the Uluru Statement from the Heart have proposed two dates (May 27 2023, or January 27 2024) where Australians would vote for a Voice To Parliament to be entrenched the constitution.
The Voice To Parliament would help govern policies regarding indigenous Australian communities across the nation.
Sammy Wilson - Anangu Man, Custodian & Traditional Owner of Mutitjulu & former Chair of the Central Land Council last year explaining his support for the #UluruStatement & its importance for a better future for all Australians. It's Time! #StayTrue2Uluru #auspol #ItsTime pic.twitter.com/OqeeoIpnMq— ulurustatement (@ulurustatement) April 14, 2022
In 2017, The Referendum Council advised the Australian government to establish this kind of governing body; however, a collective that would help with laws impacting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders was unsuccessful.
But the Uluru statement leaders are now demanding Australians revisit the possibility of a Voice To Parliament enshrined in the constitution.
“The time is now right. The stars will soon align. The politicians were not ready for Uluru in 2017. But now the Australian people are,” they said.
“We call on all sides of politics to support our call. History is calling.”
The Labor party leader Anthony Albanese vowed if elected, his government would hold a referendum in its first term.
Over the weekend, Albanese also criticised the Morrison government for not establishing a Voice To Parliament after promising they would at the beginning of the term.
He said: “This was promised by the government. At the beginning of this term, they went to the last election saying they’d advance a voice to
parliament, and nothing’s happened. It is so typical of a government that’s all promise and no delivery.
“I would want as well to reach across the aisle. We know, historically, to get constitutional change you need bipartisan support to do that.
“And I would be hopeful that we will have a mandate, very clearly, from the Australian people if we’re elected.”
Co-chair of the Uluru Dialogue Professor Megan Davis, shared that this is the ‘closest’ First Nations people have felt for a referendum to be underway as the Australian people are 'ready' for change.
“After years of pushing for our voice to be heard, it feels like we have never been this close,” she said.
“The constitutional recognition discussion has been going for well over a decade. The hard work is done. We are ready. The Australian people are ready.
“[This statement] is a reflection of urgency … We need a referendum.”