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Thursday, June 8, 2023

Australian state establishes 1st Indigenous voice to parliament

Canberra, March 26 (IANS) South Australia (SA) has become the first jurisdiction in Australia to establish an Indigenous voice to parliament.

In a historic move, legislation for the voice was passed during a special sitting of parliament on Sunday, with thousands of people gathering in Adelaide, the capital city of the Australian state of SA, to celebrate, Xinhua News Agency reported.

The new body will advise the state government on issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from urban, regional and remote communities.

The state government is hopeful that the voice will be operational by the end of 2023.

Australia is preparing for a nationwide referendum on whether to establish an Indigenous voice to the federal parliament in the second half of the year.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, a proponent of the voice, applauded SA for making history.

“This is a momentous and historic moment — not only for South Australians, but for all Australians,” he told News Corp Australia.

The voice was first proposed under the Uluru Statement from the Heart — a landmark 2017 document signed by over 250 Indigenous delegates urging leaders to change the constitution of Australia to improve the representation of First Nations peoples.

SA’s Attorney-General and Aboriginal Affairs Minister Kyam Maher said the voice would start the process of healing wounds inflicted on Indigenous South Australians for generations.

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