Australians will have their say in the historic Voice to Parliament referendum on October 14, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced today.
A yes result would mean recognition of First Nations people in the constitution by creating an independent and permanent representative body to advise policymakers on matters affecting the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The decision to enshrine the Voice in the constitution is based on recommendations from the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which came out of a long consultative process with Indigenous groups.
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The Australian Electoral Commission is urging voters to register or update their details on the electoral roll if needed, in order to be eligible to vote. (Like a regular election, all eligible Australians aged 18 and over are required to enrol and vote in referendums.) If you think your information may be out of date, check your enrolment here. For more information, see the AEC website.
The Hawke government previously established a voice to parliament – the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) – in 1990, but it was abolished in 2005 by the Howard government. By enshrining the Voice in the constitution, future governments won’t be able to remove it.
A referendum – different to a non-binding plebiscite, like the vote for marriage equality in 2017 – hasn’t been held since 1999, when Australians voted on whether to become a republic.
If you want to know more about the Voice, here are some helpful explainers:
What is the Indigenous voice to parliament, how would it work, and what happens next?
The Voice to Parliament explained
The SBS Voice Referendum portal