'Australia will hold a landmark referendum on recognising Aboriginal people in the constitution within three years, the minister for indigenous affairs said on Wednesday.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders lived on the land for tens of thousands of years prior to British colonisation, and make up roughly three percent of the population today, but remain by far the country's most disadvantaged community.
Advocates of the reform say it will help remove discrimination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders while creating a more inclusive national identity.
The campaign to include them in the constitution has stirred heated debate in Canberra.
But last week Scott Morrison, the Right-leaning prime minister, agreed to work with the opposition Labor party, clearing a path for indigenous affairs minister Ken Wyatt to promise a constitutional referendum on the issue within the three-year term of the current parliament.
Mr Wyatt acknowledged, during a speech in Canberra, that "there are diverse views" in the country on granting constitutional recognition to Australia's first people.
"I am prepared to walk with people on all sides of politics, all sides of our community to hear their views and reach a point in which they can agree," he said.
Mr Wyatt, who in May became the first Aboriginal Australian to hold the indigenous affairs portfolio, said the question put forward to Australians for a vote must be carefully crafted.
"Sometimes we can aspire to an optimum outcome but we also have to accept that there is a pragmatic element to (a) constitutional referendum and I would rather us in the psyche of this nation have a win on a referendum than to have a loss."'
Source - Telegraph
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