First Nations Voice to Parliament
Statement from our Councillors
Council has no formal position on the Voice. This aligns with Councillors’ broad view that this Council should not influence our community in Federal Government decisions, rather we encourage community members to make their own well-informed decision.
We ask our community to remain respectful, and mindful of the impacts on our First Nations community members during this time.
On Saturday, 14 October 2023, voting Australians will participate in a referendum on a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament.
Australians will be asked to answer either yes or no to this question:
A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
Do you approve this proposed alteration?
Australians will also be asked that the Constitution be amended to include a new chapter titled "Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples".
The proposed amendments:
In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia:
- there shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice;
- the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
- the Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its composition, functions, powers and procedures.”
Why is a First Nations Voice to Parliament being put forward?
On May 27, 2017, delegates of the National Constitutional Convention released the Uluru Statement of the Heart.
The Uluru Statement calls for legal and structural reforms to reshape the relationship between First Nations People and the broader Australian population.
The Uluru Statement calls for a First Nations Voice to Parliament to be enshrined in the constitution.
In 2022, the Federal Government committed to holding a referendum on a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament by the end of 2023.
What is the First Nations Voice to Parliament?
The First Nations Voice to Parliament would be an independent representative advisory body, made up of Aboriginal and Torres Striate Island members.
The advisory body would provide independent advice to the Australian Parliament and Government on issues that affect the wellbeing of First Nations Communities.
What is a referendum in Australia?
A Referendum is similar to a Federal election. However, instead of voting for a political party it is usually a yes/no vote in response to a specific question.
For a referendum to be successful a 'double majority' must vote 'yes' to the proposed changes.
This means two things:
- The majority of Australian voters in a referendum need to support the proposed change
- The majority of voters in a majority of Australia's six states need to support the change
This means the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and Northern Territory (NT) people's votes will count towards the national total, but not to the state count.
When will the referendum be held and how can I participate?
The referendum will be held on a Saturday 14 October, 2023.
It is compulsory for eligible Australians over the age of 18 to vote in a referendum.
Voters will be able to cast their ballot at a polling booth on at day of the election, or, early at either an early voting centre or via postal vote.
Refer to the Australian Electoral Commission website to learn how to:
- enrol to vote
- check your enrolment
- update your personal details.
Information on the Yes Campaign for a Voice to Parliament
Information on the No Campaign against the Voice to Parliament