Australia: no additional rights for Indigenous citizens

Australians rejected by a clear majority a constitutional amendment in favour of the country’s indigenous population on Saturday. If the referendum had gone in favour, the parliament would have had to consult a new representation of the Indigenous people — the "Voice to Parliament" — on issues that directly affect them. Australia’s Indigenous citizens are significantly poorer, less educated and less healthy on average than the rest of the population.

The Irish Times (IE) /

A bitter blow

The Irish Times warns that such referendums say little about people’s attitude to the actual subject being voted on:

“As Irish referendums have proved, there is no way to ensure that voters confine themselves to approving or rejecting the question asked. The historic wrongs remain largely unaddressed: the theft of land and forced removal of children; the poverty and lower life expectancy; the hopelessness of the young; the health and educational apartheid; the destruction of language and culture of a civilisation with more than 250 distinct nations. And Australia’s international reputation, too, has taken a blow.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Too rushed

From the point of view of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the clear rejection was logical:

“Why? Because as a government politician you can’t pursue a constitutional amendment as if it were a personal campaign to make the world a better place. ... Rushing doesn’t help. [PM] Albanese should have first consulted the opposition, with the hardliners of the Liberal-National Coalition. He should have discussed with them how to implement The Voice referendum in order to jointly lead the aboriginal cause to a final yes vote. An arduous path, to be sure. But the chances of a successful referendum would have been greater.”

Thomas Hahn