Australia shelves Aboriginal referendum

2012-09-20 10:02
An aboriginal boy stands outside a store in the remote outback town of Wadeye in the Northern Terrritory of Australia. (AP, File)

An aboriginal boy stands outside a store in the remote outback town of Wadeye in the Northern Terrritory of Australia. (AP, File)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

kalahari.com

Sydney - Australia on Thursday shelved plans to hold a referendum on formally recognising the country's Aborigines in the constitution, saying there was not enough public support for the move.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard described the vote as a "once in 50-year opportunity" when she first unveiled plans for the referendum in 2010, saying there was a rare moment of widespread public and parliamentary support.

Gillard had said the vote, which would have followed a historic 2008 government apology to Aboriginal Australians for wrongs committed since white settlement in 1788, could be held before or in conjunction with next year's national elections.

But Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said the plan had been shelved for two or three years due to a lack of community support, with the government instead set to pass a special "Act of Recognition".

"I understand that people are disappointed. I'm disappointed myself," said Macklin.

"All of us would like to see the recognition of indigenous Australians in the constitution as soon as possible, but nobody wants it to fail, most of all indigenous Australians," the minister added.

Counted as part of population

"I think we also have to acknowledge that there isn't the community awareness for a change to the constitution."

Macklin said it could take several years to gather enough support.

Australia has not held a referendum since 1999, when a move to become a republic was rejected.

In 44 referendums since 1901, only eight have been passed, including a resoundingly successful 1967 vote on counting Aboriginal Australians as part of the population.

Macklin said the Act of Recognition would address the recommendations of an expert panel into the proposed referendum in the interim.

They included recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as Australia's original inhabitants and acknowledging the need to secure the advancement of these groups, the nation's most disadvantaged minority.

Once thought to number more than one million, Aborigines now account for just 470 000 out of a population of 22 million, and suffer disproportionately high rates of disease, imprisonment and unemployment.

Aboriginal men have a life expectancy 11.5 years shorter than their non-Aboriginal counterparts. Aboriginal women die 9.7 years sooner than non-Aboriginal women.

Read more on:    julia gillard  |  australia
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
7 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Tab P7500 10.1" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 gives you a better experience for...

From R4999.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.