By Syed Atiqul Hassan, Editor, Tribune International (Australia)

On Saturday, October 14, 2023, Australians will cast their votes in a national referendum aimed at amending the Australian Constitution. The pivotal question at hand pertains to incorporating

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provisions concerning an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice within the Constitution. It is essential to grasp that the Constitution can only be altered through a referendum, and such amendments necessitate the approval of Australian citizens.

By law, all Australian citizens aged 18 and above are mandated to participate in elections and referendums. If you are uncertain about your enrolment status with the Australian Electoral Commission, I urge you to promptly contact the electoral office to ensure that your information is up-to-date.

This era underscores the urgency for Australia to further its progress and align itself with other developed nations, particularly those in Europe, Canada, and the USA. Recognizing this imperative, the Labor government has taken a significant step toward establishing a constitutional voice for Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

In the pursuit of shaping Australia’s identity with fairness and equality for every citizen, successive Australian governments have consistently advanced initiatives to improve the lives of Indigenous people, who have been custodians of this land for over 65,000 years.

Today, Australia stands as a steadfast multicultural nation, where individuals from more than 200 different countries have found a permanent home on this soil.

I wholeheartedly endorse the upcoming referendum and intend to cast my vote in favour of ‘YES’ for the inclusion of the voice of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Australians in our parliamentary system. I firmly believe that Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Australians deserve complete and equal rights in all aspects of life, including legal and constitutional processes. Australia’s multiculturalism has brought together people from over 200 ethnic backgrounds, fostering a climate of peace, harmony, and unity. A ‘YES’ victory in the referendum on October 14 will not only elevate Australia’s global standing but also reaffirm our commitment to championing equal human rights. (The writer is a Sydney-based journalist, analyst, and editor at Tribune International, Australia. His email is shassan@tribune-intl.com ).


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