IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


14th October, 2023 MISCELLANEOUS

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Picture Courtesy: Channel 4 News


Context: The referendum in Australia, scheduled for October 14, aims to decide whether the country's Constitution should be amended to recognize the indigenous peoples of Australia, referred to as the "First Peoples," by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

Key Highlights

  • The referendum aims to decide whether the country’s Constitution should be altered to recognize the indigenous peoples of Australia, known as the First Peoples.
    • The term 'First Peoples of Australia' refers to the indigenous inhabitants of the continent, including Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders, who lived on the Australian mainland and surrounding islands for tens of thousands of years before European colonization.
  • The proposed alteration aims to create an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, advising lawmakers on indigenous community issues, and addressing the absence of Aboriginal representation in the Australian Constitution for over a century.
  • The referendum targets historical and ongoing disparities faced by Indigenous Australians, including shorter life expectancy, higher disease rates, infant mortality, and a high suicide rate. The Indigenous Voice to Parliament is designed to empower Indigenous Australians in shaping policies affecting their lives.
  • The referendum faces opposition, notably from political entities like the Liberal Party and the Nationals, citing vague details about the proposed body's composition and powers. Concerns include potential societal divisions along racial lines if the 'Yes' vote prevails.
  • Some indigenous community members reject the consultative body, advocating for a formal treaty with substantial power transfer and recognition of their rights, emphasizing concerns that the proposed consultative body might lack real influence.


  • The referendum attempts to include indigenous Australians in the country's Constitution and establish a consultative body; however, it is being opposed due to worries over the contents of the proposed body and the potential for societal divide. As an alternative, some indigenous organisations demand a formal treaty with the government.


Q. What are some key challenges faced by indigenous communities worldwide, and what initiatives or policies can be implemented to promote their cultural preservation, socio-economic development, and overall well-being?