For the first time in its history, the Australian State took concrete actions to recognize its native peoples in the country’s Constitution.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced on March 23 the question that will be put to the citizens’ for consideration in a referendum that aims to reform the current Magna Carta including in it the rights of Indigenous Peoples.
In essence, the consultation ask whether it was acceptable to recognize the rights of Australia’s First Peoples by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
Upon acceptance, the constitutional text would be as follows:
“Chapter IX Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
129 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice
In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia:
- There shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice;
- The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
- The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its composition, functions, powers and procedures.”
According to official Australian data, in 2021 the number of indigenous people amounted to 881,600, 38% residing in large cities and 18% in remote or very remote areas.
Considering these numbers, their living conditions and especially after the constant demands raised by the indigenous organizations that are called “aborigines” on the island, in recent years concrete actions have been analyzed to give them a voice and take into account their cultures and their perspectives in the definition of public policies.
In this context, at the end of the year 2021, the Federal Government of Australia released its proposal on the Indigenous Voice in Parliament, after an 18-month consultation process led by indigenous leaders, who will have to provide advice to the legislature and also to the federal government on proposed laws that refer to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
According to the national authorities, this is an initiative to receive direct advice from the beneficiaries to overcome failed and unfulfilled programs and policies on key issues such as land titling, employment, housing, community development, heritage, among others.
The proponents of the initiative maintain that it is based on the following principles:
it will provide independent advice to parliament and government; it will be elected by First Nations peoples based on the wishes of local communities; it will be representative of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; it will be community-led, inclusive, respectful, culturally informed and gender-balanced; it will also include youth; it will be accountable and transparent; it will work together with existing organizations and traditional structures.
It is estimated that the referendum will be held between October and December 2023, requiring a majority of votes in most states to be successful, in which case, the Parliament will proceed to approve a law that forms the Voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.
The referendum requires a majority of votes in most states to be successful. If the vote is successful, parliament will design the Voice through legislation.
 A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Do you approve this proposed alteration?
 IWGIA, The Indigenous World 2022, Copenhagen, March 2022..
 France24, March 23, 2023, https://www.france24.com/es/asia-pac%C3%ADfico/20230323-australia-celebrar%C3%A1-un-hist%C3%B3rico-referendo-para-reconocer-en-su-constituci%C3%B3n-a-los-abor%C3%ADgenes