Australian Leader Proposes "New Reconciliation" With Aborigines

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The Australian prime minister, John Howard, proposed a referendum on Thursday to change the Constitution to recognize the role of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia’s history.

Mr. Howard, who is expected to call parliamentary elections in the next few days, said he wanted what he described as a “New Reconciliation” with the country’s indigenous people.

“If re-elected, I will put to the Australian people within 18 months a referendum to formally recognize indigenous Australians in our Constitution, their history as the first inhabitants of our country, their unique heritage of culture and languages and their special, though not separate, place within a reconciled, indivisible nation,” he told an audience at the center-right Sydney Institute.

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