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Proposal for Indigenous Voice to Parliament has mainstream support: Australian PM

Canberra, Jan 27 (IANS) Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has described opponents of the proposed Indigenous Voice to Parliament as radicals.

Albanese on Friday said the plan for recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the constitution has wide-reaching mainstream support, Xinhua News Agency reported.

A referendum will be held in 2023 on whether to enshrine the voice in the Australian constitution. If successful, the new body would advise the parliament on issues relating to Indigenous Australians.

However, some community leaders have called for Australians to vote against the proposal and for the government to instead prioritise a treaty with Indigenous peoples.

Responding to the opposition, Albanese said his government would continue to consult with the public before holding the referendum.

“Across the country, every state premier, every chief minister, is supporting yes at this referendum because this is about progress going forward. It is about reconciliation,” he told reporters.

“I’m not surprised that some radicals are opposed to it. Because this is a mainstream proposition. This is a modest and gracious request for reconciliation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”

According to polling conducted by the Referendum Working Group, 80 per cent of Indigenous Australians support the proposal.

In order to be successful, a referendum must achieve a simple majority of voters nationally as well as a majority in at least four of the six states.

With the referendum set for the second half of the year, Albanese said there was time for Australians to become informed before voting.

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