On 14 October, Australia will vote in a historic referendum that cuts to the core of how it sees itself as a nation.
If successful, the proposal – known as the Voice – will recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the constitution, while creating a body for them to advise governments on the issues affecting their communities.
Yes advocates say it’s a “modest yet profound” change that will allow Indigenous Australians to take “a rightful place” in their own country – which has often dragged its heels confronting its past.
But those campaigning against it describe it as a “radical” proposal that will “permanently divide” the country by giving First Nations people greater rights than other Australians – a claim legal experts reject.
“Too many of us have grown up as strangers,” leading Voice advocate Noel Pearson told the Canberra Press Gallery last week.
“This referendum is the largest mirror we will ever look into as a nation… we, the Australian people, face a choice – a choice between crossing the bridge to our future or floundering in the past.” : Noel Pearson