SYDNEY (Reuters) – Less than half of all Australian voters are backing a proposal to include an indigenous advisory body in the constitution due for a referendum later this year, the latest opinion poll showed on Monday.
Around 46% will vote in favor of having the new advisory body, called the indigenous “Voice of Parliament”, while 43% would vote against it, according to the Newspoll poll published Monday in the Australian newspaper.
11% say they did not know or are undecided.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who make up around 3.2% of Australia’s nearly 26 million people, lag national averages on most socio-economic measures and are not mentioned in Australia’s constitution. 122 years. They were marginalized by the British colonial rulers and were not granted the right to vote until the 1960s.
The poll comes just days after the referendum legislation cleared its first parliamentary hurdle as it passed the House of Representatives.
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This is the first survey that probes voters on the precise question they will be asked at the polls when the referendum is held, which is expected between October and December.
The government of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has been backing the referendum and has invested significant political capital in it. Major sports codes and several major corporations have proclaimed their support for the campaign.
But support for the campaign has waned in recent weeks. Another poll last month found the vote in favor fell to 53% from 58% earlier this year.
Groups opposed to the constitutional change strengthened their campaign and urged people to vote ‘No’ in the referendum. While most indigenous peoples support the Voice, others argue that it is a distraction from achieving practical and positive results.
(Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing for Ediring by Michael Perry)
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