Australia’s Voice referendum campaign has been marred by “horrific racism,” with Indigenous Australians subjected to abuse and threats, according to a report released on Friday.
The report, by the Australian Human Rights Commission, found that Indigenous people had been called “savages,” “apes” and “dogs” during the campaign. They had also been threatened with violence, including death.
The report said that the racism had been particularly prevalent on social media, but it had also been seen in traditional media outlets.
The report warned that the racism was having a negative impact on Indigenous Australians, both emotionally and psychologically. It also said that the racism was undermining the Voice referendum campaign.
The Voice referendum is a proposal to change the Australian Constitution to create an Indigenous advisory body. The body would be known as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, and it would have the power to advise the government on policies that affect Indigenous Australians.
The referendum is due to be held in 2023, and it is widely seen as a test of Australia’s commitment to reconciliation with Indigenous Australians.
The report’s findings have been met with shock and disgust from many Australians. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has condemned the racism, saying that it is “unacceptable” and “has no place in our society.”
The Opposition Leader, Peter Dutton, has also condemned the racism, saying that it is “vile” and “repugnant.”
The report has called on the Australian government to take action to address the racism, including by developing a national anti-racism strategy and by increasing funding for Indigenous-led anti-racism organizations.
The report has also called on social media companies to do more to combat racism on their platforms.