An Indigenous Voice – The experience of Australia and Bolivia

An Indigenous Voice – The experience of Australia and Bolivia

Less than a month remains before the referendum on whether or not to recognise First Nations Australians in the Constitution through an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament. Join the Australian National Centre for Latin American Studies (ANCLAS) and the ANU First Nations Portfolio in the fourth of a series of panel discussions to compare and contrast Australia’s experience with that of Latin American countries with significant Indigenous populations in addressing Indigenous Rights and recognition. The series aims to help inform discussion in Australia in the lead-up to the referendum on 14 October.

The fourth session will be an opportunity for panellists to take stock of the current status of the referendum campaign in Australia. It will recall the rationale for the referendum initiative, review what the polls are saying, what politicians are saying and what First Nations Peoples are saying. And it will address some of the concerns, claims and counter-claims of the “Yes” and “No” campaigns.

The panel will also provide the opportunity to hear from a Bolivian expert on the experience of that country in reforming its Constitution – which is among the most progressive in Latin America in terms of protection and promotion of social and economic rights. The articles pertaining to Indigenous Rights are particularly so. It defines Bolivia as a unitary 'plurinational' state founded on 'political, economic, juridical, cultural and linguistic pluralism'. It acknowledges and guarantees the 'pre-colonial existence of nations and rural native indigenous peoples and their ancestral control of their territories' as well as the right of those peoples 'to be consulted by appropriate procedures, in particular through their institutions, each time legislative or administrative measures may be foreseen to affect them' .



Noel Campbell (Director, Australian National Centre for Latin American Studies, ANU)

Caroline Schuster (Associate Professor, School of Archaeology and Anthropology, ANU)


  • Peter Yu (Vice President, First Nations Portfolio, ANU)
  • Yuri Mantilla (Professor of Law, Liberty University School of Law, United States)
  • Asmi Wood (Professor, College of Law, ANU)
  • Manuela Fernández de Córdova (Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of Ecuador)


For further information:

Uluru Statement from the Heart

Media release on the Constitution Alteration Bill

Text of 2009 Constitution of Bolivia



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Date & time

Thu 21 Sep 2023, 9–10.30am


RSSS Building, room 6.71 (level 6) and ONLINE


Noel Campbell


Updated:  20 September 2023/Responsible Officer:  Centre Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications