Indigenous People in the State of South Australia Will Get a Voice

Source: Indigenous South Australians have until February 12 to nominate as candidates.(ABC News: Justin Hewitson)

Last October Australians comprehensively rejected the so-called “voice referendum”. The federal measure was aimed at incorporating an advisory body on indigenous affairs into the country's constitution. 

While the federal effort failed, the state of South Australia (SA) would like to establish an indigenous advisory body under the state Parliament. Two representatives will be elected to represent the indigenous community in the “state Voice,” which will be tasked with providing direct advice to the SA government on issues that affect First Nations people.

In contrast to the unsuccessful federal Voice initiative, which 64% of South Austrialians voted against, the SA government was not required to amend South Australia's constitution to establish the advisory body. Rather, it enacted legislation through parliament to bring the Voice into existence. 

Aunty Yvonne Agius is an 80-year old indigenous rights activist who plans to stand in the SA voice election. She states, "I just feel that it's time for us to have a voice…We're out in the community, and they talk to us about things that are concerns, so that's what I want to do — to bring things up in the parliament. We're not here to take other people's land or houses … we just want to have a say in what we should do within our community." 

Only registered First Nation individuals are allowed to vote; the results are expected on March 25. 

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