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Episode 69: Indigenous recognition referendum within three years

Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra.

Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt says the government is committed to exploring steps towards a referendum.

SBS Italian news, with a slower pace. This is Slow Italian, Fast Learning, the very best of the week’s news, read at a slower pace, with Italian and English text available.

Italian

Il Ministro per gli australiani indigeni Ken Wyatt ha dichiarato di essere determinato a portare una Voce Indigena in Parlamento, ma ha invitato alla cautela e alla pazienza sul tema.

Wyatt ha illustrato la sua strategia per una Voce Indigena, dichiarando che è necessario che si crei una maggioranza di australiani favorevoli prima che possa diventare una realtà.

“It’s not a case of not wanting to do it, I want to be cautious about what it is that we put into the constitution because if we go to a referendum and we don't have the support of our people and we don't have the support of the majority of Australians nor the majority of the states we lose symbolically that would be seen as a massive defeat.”

Il cosiddetto Uluru Statement from the Heart del 2017 ha richiesto la creazione di una "First Nations Voice" nella Costituzione australiana, un processo che richiederebbe un referendum.

Ma, provocando l'ira di molti gruppi indigeni, la Coalizione ha temporeggiato sulla creazione della Voce Indigena, con l'ex primo ministro Malcolm Turnbull, e poi Scott Morrison, che hanno dichiarato che creerebbe "una terza camera" del parlamento.

Ma Wyatt ha dichiarato che la Coalizione si è impegnata a esplorare come potrebbe essere una Voce Indigena.

“Our government is committed;  we've set aside a budget, we've also set aside 7.3 million dollars to do additional work that requires further consultation and I've already started the process of meeting some of our key leaders seeking their views about what they believe is achievable because I need to be pragmatic.”

Wyatt ha dichiarato di sostenere e comprendere il motivo per cui viene richiesta.

“I support the intent of what I believe is being described, I support the fact that people are frustrated that they're not being listened to and I support the way in which they've described in needing something to allow voices to permeate to the top.”

I Laburisti si sono presentati alle ultime elezioni promettendo che, in caso fossero stati eletti, avrebbero accelerato un referendum per sancire costituzionalmente la Voce nel Parlamento.

La ministra ombra per gli Indigeni australiani Linda Burney ha detto che la nuova opposizione è pronta a lavorare con il governo.

“I've made a commitment and so has Ken Wyatt to work as collaboratively as possible on things in the First Nations space but I've also made the very strong point that bi-partisanship does not mean a race to the bottom it means we aspire to the highest possible point.”

Burney ha dichiarato che il Partito Liberal Nazionale deve essere convinto del fatto che vale la pena avere una Voce indigena in Parlamento.

“Labor party caucus is absolutely in favour a voice to parliament its up to the PM and Ken Wyatt to convince members of their team that this is a very worthwhile thing to pursue and an appropriate and timely thing to pursue”.

Mentre entrambi i partiti principali hanno promesso di lavorare insieme, queste dichiarazioni giungono dopo decenni di promesse, e i sostenitori ora sperano in un cambiamento significativo.

La dottoressa Jackie Huggins fa parte del National Congress of Australia's First Peoples.

“We need to get this right because if a referendum falls over, what would that say to our people that we are worthless in our own country and what does that say to wider Australians that they can't even have the decency to support us.”

Huggins spera di vedere cambiamenti significativi sul riconoscimento Indigeno nel corso della propria vita.

“People of my generation are, I think it’s about time we saw something like this and I would love to see it in my lifetime, I really would. I probably would, I hope. But there's an extraordinary number of younger Indigenous people coming through that will make sure that legacy continues for us in the future.”


English

Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt says he is committed to bringing about an Indigenous voice to the parliament, but has urged caution and patience on the issue.

Mr Wyatt laid out his strategy around an Indigenous voice, saying a majority of Australians need to bought onside before it becomes a reality.

“It’s not a case of not wanting to do it, I want to be cautious about what it is that we put into the constitution because if we go to a referendum and we don’t have the support of our people and we don’t have the support of the majority of Australians nor the majority of the states we lose symbolically that would be seen as a massive defeat.”  

The landmark 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart called for the establishment of a "First Nations Voice" in the Australian Constitution, a process that would require a referendum.

But to the anger of many Indigenous groups, the Coalition has dragged its feet on the Indigenous voice, with former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, and then Scott Morrison, saying it could create a "third chamber" of parliament.

But Mr Wyatt said the Coalition was committed to exploring what an Indigenous voice would look like.

“Our government is committed;  we've set aside a budget, we've also set aside 7.3 million dollars to do additional work that requires further consultation and I've already started the process of meeting some of our key leaders seeking their views about what they believe is achievable because I need to be pragmatic.”

Mr Wyatt says he supports and understands what's being asked for.

“I support the intent of what I believe is being described, I support the fact that people are frustrated that they're not being listened to and I support the way in which they’ve described in needing something to allow voices to permeate to the top.”

Labor went to the last election promising if elected, it would fast track a referendum to constitutionally enshrine the voice to parliament.

Shadow Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Bur said the new opposition was ready to work with the government.

“I've made a commitment and so has Ken Wyatt to work as collaboratively as possible on things in the First Nations space but I've also made the very strong point that bi-partisanship does not mean a race to the bottom it means we aspire to the highest possible point.”

Ms Burney says the Liberal National Party needs to be convinced that an Indigenous voice to the parliament is worthwhile

“Labor party caucus is absolutely in favour a voice to parliament its up to the PM and Ken Wyatt to convince members of their team that this is a very worthwhile thing to pursue and an appropriate and timely thing to pursue”.

While both major parties have pledged to work together, it comes after decades of previous promises and community advocates are now hoping for meaningful change.

Dr Jackie Huggins is from the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples

“We need to get this right because if a referendum falls over, what would that say to our people that we are worthless in our own country and what does that say to wider Australians that they can't even have the decency to support us.”

Ms Huggins hopes to see significant movement on Indigenous recognition in her lifetime

“People of my generation are, I think it’s about time we saw something like this and I would love to see it in my lifetime, I really would. I probably would, I hope. But there's an extraordinary number of younger Indigenous people coming through that will make sure that legacy continues for us in the future.”

Report by Nakari Thorpe and Amy Hall.

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