BBC News UK is reporting that Australia’s lower house has unanimously passed a bill recognizing Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples as the country’s first inhabitants. The passage of the bill happened on the fifth anniversary of the historic apology to indigenous Australians for past injustices. The bill is seen as an interim move before legislators introduce a referendum to include the official recognition in the country’s constitution. The article reports:
Indigenous Australians watching from the public galleries met the passage of the bill, which enjoyed bipartisan support, with applause.
“I do believe the community is willing to embrace the justice of this campaign because Australians understand that indigenous culture and history are a source of pride for us all,” Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said.
“This bill seeks to foster momentum for a referendum for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
She said that a review will be held to gauge public support for a referendum, which is needed to make any change to the constitution in Australia.
Read more at BBC News UK.