A referendum on the Voice to Parliament is expected to be held in October after the Australian senate passed legislation enabling the vote to go ahead.
The vote passed 52 to 19.
Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians Malarndirri McCarthy described it as “a critical moment in our country’s history”.
“It is the right thing to do,” she said.
But Country Liberal Party Senator Jacinta Price, herself Indigenous, warned the Senate that “if the Yes vote is successful, we will be divided forever”.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson upset a packed public gallery when she said: “Just because you can say you’ve got a connection with this land for 65,000, I don’t care.
“Just because you’ve got your cave paintings and your dream time and we’ve got a connection with this land, what about my connection with this land?”
Most Liberal Party politicians voted for the legislation despite the fact they will campaign for a No vote in the referendum.
A few voted against the legislation which was required in order for them to be able to participate in writing the No campaign booklet.
Labor politicians and the gallery clapped themselves for almost half a minute after the legislation was passed.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told a press conference, immediately after the vote, that the “Voice is a powerful word because it will give First Nations people a Voice”.
Opposition leader Peter Dutton continued to pepper the Prime Minister with questions about the detail.
“Why are Australians being asked to make the biggest change to Australia’s constitution in decades creating a permanent new body without any details about how it would operate?” he asked.
Albanese simply replied that the Voice was “about recognition and listening”.
When Deputy Liberal Leader Susan Ley asked what areas of public policy would not be within the scope of the Voice, Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney chided her for “throwing red herrings”.
“If you listened more closely to the debate, she wouldn’t have to ask that question,” Burney said.