Peter Dutton wants a second referendum to recognize Indigenous Australians in the constitution, despite a 1999 proposal being flatly rejected.
The opposition leader on Monday reiterated his call for a second referendum if Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s proposal for an “Indigenous Voice to Parliament” on October 14 is rejected – opinion polls suggest.
24 years ago, Australians voted on two referendum issues, the last time there was a vote on an amendment to the constitution.
Voters’ question as to whether they wanted a preamble recognizing Indigenous Australians was even less popular than the rejected proposal on whether Australia should become a republic.
The preamble, co-authored by then Liberal Prime Minister John Howard, a monarchist, and the late poet Les Murray, received just 39.3 per cent of the population in November 1999 and failed in all states of Australia.
The rejected preamble included a line that “honored the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the nation’s first people, for their deep connection to their land and for their ancient and enduring cultures that enrich the life of our country”.
It fared even worse than asking voters whether they wanted a republic with an Australian head of state, known as a president, to replace the queen, which was approved by two-thirds of the federal parliament.
Liberal leader Peter Dutton wants a second referendum to recognize Indigenous Australians in the constitution, although the proposal was flatly rejected in 1999
Despite supporting 45.1 percent of voters, the republic failed to win a majority in any state.
READ MORE: Vote support collapses as yes-side courts John Farnham
A nationwide poll has found that support for the parliamentary vote is falling sharply, with just 38 percent of the population planning to vote yes.
Australian singer John Farnham lent his 1986 song You’re The Voice to the Yes side.
The preamble may also have put off atheists, beginning with the line “With hope in God.”
The location of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has been cited as justification for Australia’s being a federated democracy, for victims of war and for the rule of law.
Indigenous Australians were put before migrants.
“With hope in God, the Commonwealth of Australia is a democracy with a federal system of government serving the common good,” reads the proposed preamble.
“We, the people of Australia, commit ourselves to this Constitution:
“Proud that our national unity was forged by Australians of diverse heritage;
“We never forget the sacrifices of all who defended our country and our freedom in times of war;
“Upholding freedom, tolerance, individual dignity and the rule of law;
“Honoring the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the nation’s first people, for their deep connection to their land and for their ancient and enduring cultures that enrich life in our country;
“In recognition of the contribution of generations of immigrants to nation-building;
“Aware of our responsibility to protect our unique natural environment;
“Promotes achievement and equal opportunity for all;
“And we value the independence as much as the national spirit that holds us together in adversity as well as in success.”
Mr Dutton on Monday called for a referendum to recognize Indigenous Australians in the constitution without requiring a vote in Parliament.
“I think putting a vote in the constitution is wrong for our country and we should be clear about that,” he told Sunrise host Natalie Barr on Monday.
“I believe an overwhelming majority of Australians support the recognition but not the vote.”
A November 1999 referendum question asking voters whether they wanted to include a preamble in the constitution recognizing Indigenous Australians was even less popular than the rejected proposal for Australia to become a republic (pictured is the reconciliation walk in the May 2000 seen across Sydney Harbour). Bridge)
Mr Dutton urged the Prime Minister to change the question.
“We don’t need a second referendum if the Prime Minister listens to the Australian public and changes the question and just puts a simple recognition question to the Australian people on October 14,” he said.
A news poll published Monday in The Australian showed that six weeks before the Oct. 14 referendum, 53 percent backed the no vote, with just 38 percent saying they would vote yes and 9 percent undecided.
Only eight of 44 referendum questions have been accepted since the first vote in 1906.
Written by then Liberal Prime Minister John Howard (pictured with his family in October 1998) and the late poet Les Murray, the preamble received just 38.96 per cent popular support in November 1999 and failed in all states of Australia