Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese has announced the referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament will take place on 14 October.
The Indigenous Voice to Parliament would allow an official representative body to speak on the behalf of First Nations people and consider laws and policies that impact them.
The Government wants to include this Voice in Australia’s Constitution, which does not currently recognize First Nations people.
A referendum is necessary if the Constitution is to be changed.
A public vote to alter the Australian Constitution is known as a referendum. It is compulsory for all Australian citizens aged 18 and over to vote.
A referendum can only pass if the majority of Australian voters, as well as the majority of voters in the majority of states, agree with it.
The latest referendum, which was a failure, was held in 1999 to elect an Australian Head of State to replace the monarch.
Australians will have to answer to a close-ended (yes/no) 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?”
The Uluru Statement from the Heart was delivered and endorsed by 250 First Nations leaders in May 2017. It outlined the path forward for recognising First Nations people in the nation’s Constitution. The reform had three requests.
Then it requested the creation of the Makarrata Commission, which would conduct a truth-telling and treaty-making process.
These requests were designed to be implemented in order, which is why the Government is trying to implement a Voice to Parliament first.