26 March 2023 The Hindu Editorial & Vocab Analysis 

Righting a wrong: On Australia’s referendum to constitutionally recognise

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people Australia must give Aboriginal people permanent representation in government

Australia is on track to reckon with a dark chapter in its history after its Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, made a promise to bring to its voters a referendum to constitutionally recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, thereby giving them permanent representation in the government, even if only in an advisory capacity. The specific subject of the proposed referendum, to be held later this year, is the Voice, a representative Indigenous body in the Australian Parliament, which would provide non-binding advice to Parliament on policy subjects that impact First Nations communities. As a representative mechanism, the hope is that the interests of the Indigenous people would be better addressed: as a social category they tend to be overrepresented in official figures on shorter life expectancy, higher rates of infant mortality, poorer physical and mental health, lower levels of education and employment, and higher rates of child removals, suicides, and community and family violence. However, despite the Voice proposal enjoying close to 59% public support (a recent poll), there are pockets of political resistance, including, ironically, from prominent Indigenous leaders such as Country Liberal Party Senator Jacinta Price. Ms. Price has expressed concern over wording which says that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice “may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth”, which she says elevates the Voice to a level surpassing a Cabinet Minister and potentially risks challenges to legislative decisions in the courts. Other Indigenous leaders favour a different prioritisation of approaches, for example, first agreeing on a treaty between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, which would recognise that the former’s lands were never ceded to the “invaders”.


At the heart of the referendum proposal is the idea of reconciliation, however politically fraught it may be. Since European colonisation in 1778 of “Terra nullius”, or “nobody’s land”, it took around 200 years for the government to express regret for the “Stolen Generations”, which ripped the fabric of Indigenous society. It was also only in the late 2000s that the Australian government formally signed the “Close the Gap Statement of Intent”, that committed to achieving better health and life expectancy outcomes for Indigenous peoples. The longer these national wounds are left to fester, the harder it would be to bridge and heal them. In this context, no matter what the political objections to and modalities of the Voice referendum are, the Albanese government would do well to pursue the process to its logical conclusion and give every Australian the opportunity to speak up for how they believe social harmony can be achieved for their nation.


1. Right a wrong (phrase) to correct a mistake or an injustice that has been committed in the past गलती सुधारना

2. Referendum (noun) an occasion when all the people of a country can vote on a particular political question जनमत संग्रह

3. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (noun) it refers to the Indigenous peoples of Australia. “Aboriginal” is a term used to describe the Indigenous peoples of mainland Australia, while “Torres Strait Islander” is used to refer to the Indigenous peoples of the Torres Strait Islands, which lie between Australia and Papua New Guinea. ऑस्ट्रेलिया और तोरेस स्ट्रेट द्वीप समूह के प्राचीन लोग

4. On track (phrase)– following a course that is likely to result in success रास्ते पर

5. Reckon (verb) – Consider, believe, think, suppose समझना

6. Thereby (adverb) – thus, therefore, in this way, consequently, hence जिसके चलते

7. Advisory capacity (noun) – A role or function that involves providing advice or recommendations, without having decision-making power.

8. Proposed (adjective) – Suggested, offered, advised, put forward, recommended प्रस्तावित

9. Indigenous (adjective) – Originating or occurring naturally in a particular place; native. स्वदेशी

10. Non-binding (adjective) – not legally necessary to obey or follow: गैर-बाध्यकारी

11. Mechanism (noun) – procedure, process, system, operation, method तंत्र, क्रियाविधि

12. Address (verb) – Tackle, deal with, attend to, confront समाधान करना

13. Tend (to) (verb) – be inclined, be apt, be disposed, be prone प्रवृत्त होना

14. Overrepresented (adjective) – Overstated, overreported, disproportionately high, too many बढ़ा-चढ़ाकर कहना

15. Life expectancy (noun) – The average period that a person is expected to live जीवन अवधि

16. Infant mortality (noun) – The death of babies/infant in their first year of life. शिशु मृत्यु दर

17. The Voice (noun) – The Voice would be an elected group charged with advocating Indigenous interests, but would not have a vote on laws.

18. Poll (noun) – A survey of public opinion. सर्वेक्षण

19. Pocket (noun) – a small, isolated group or Parea क्षेत्र, इलाका

20. Resistance (noun) – opposition, fight, battle, stand, struggle, confrontation प्रतिरोध, विरोध

21. Ironically (adverb) – In an ironic manner. विडंबना यह है

22. Prominent (adjective) – Noticeable, conspicuous, obvious, blatant, pronounced प्रमुख

23. Senator (noun) – a member of a senate or other legislative body सीनेट सदस्य

24. Concern (noun) – Anxiety, worry, apprehension fear चिंता

25. Representation (noun) – the action of speaking or acting on behalf of someone or the state of being so represented प्रतिनिधित्व

26. Elevate (verb) – raise or lift (something) up to a higher position दर्जा बढ़ाना

27. Surpass (verb) – exceed, outdo, outstrip, outshine पार करना

28. Potentially (adverb) – Probably, possibly संभावित

29. Risk (verb) – endanger, put at risk, put in danger जोखिम में डालना

30. Prioritisation (noun) – arrangement, ranking, preference, order प्राथमिकता

31. Treaty (noun) – agreement, pact, contract, accord, deal संधि

32. Non-indigenous (adjective) – foreign, immigrant, alien, imported परदेसी

33. Cede (verb) – concede, relinquish, yield, give up सौंपना, त्याग करना, हवाले करना

34. Invader (noun) conqueror, intruder, occupier, raider आक्रमणकारी

35. At the heart of (phrase) – the most important or central part of something. किसी चीज़ का मूल तत्व होना

36. Reconciliation (noun) – the restoration of friendly relations. सुलह

37. Fraught (adjective) – tense, anxious, difficult, problematic, stressed तनावपूर्ण

38. Colonisation (noun) – settlement, annexation, occupation, subjugation औपनिवेशीकरण, बसाना

39. Regret (noun) – remorse, sorrow, contrition, contriteness, repentance पछतावा

40. Stolen Generation (noun) – it refers to a period in Australia’s history where Aboriginal children were removed from their families through government policies. This happened from the mid-1800s to the 1970s.

41. Rip (verb) to pull apart; to tear फाड़ना

42. Fabric (noun) – the structure or parts of something: संरचना, ढांचा

43. Close the Gap Statement of Intent (noun) – an Australian government strategy that aims to reduce disparity between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians on key health, education and economic opportunity targets. The strategy was launched in 2008 in response to the Close the Gap social justice movement, and revised in 2020 with additional targets and a refreshed strategy.

44. Commit (verb) – Obligate, pledge, promise, compel प्रतिबद्ध होना

45. Outcome (noun) – result, end result, consequence, conclusion परिणाम

46. Wound (noun) – injury, trauma, lesion, cut, gash घाव

47. Fester (verb) – worsen, decay, rot, putrefy, deteriorate घाव पकना / बदतर होना

48. Bridge (verb) to make the difference or division between two things smaller or less severe मतभेद कम करना

49. Heal (verb) cure, mend, repair, alleviate ठीक करना

50. In this context (phrase) – the situation within something happens इस संदर्भ में

51. Modality (noun) – a particular method or procedure तौर-तरीका, प्रकार

52. Pursue (verb) – Carry out or participate in an activity; be involved in पीछा करना

53. Harmony (noun) – a state of peaceful existence and agreement सामंजस्य, सद्भाव

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