SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia will hold a national vote within three years on whether to include recognition of indigenous people in its constitution, the government said on Wednesday, an issue that has spurred decades of often heated debate.
Australia has struggled to reconcile with descendants of its first inhabitants, who arrived on the continent about 50,000 years before British colonists but are not recognized in the national constitution.
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However, with public support on the issue growing, Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt promised a referendum before 2022.
“I will develop and bring forward a consensus option for constitutional recognition to be put to a referendum during the current parliamentary term,” Wyatt said in a speech in Canberra.
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Australians must return to the polls by 2022 after Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s conservative coalition government was returned in a “miracle” election win in May.
However, to meet the timetable Wyatt will need to facilitate an agreement between the government and indigenous leaders, who...
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