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Voice to Parliament

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Voice to Parliament

Referendum on an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice

The QFCC Commissioners support the full implementation of the Uluru Statement, including a First Nations Voice to Parliament.

We recognise the rich and resilient cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and the critical importance of continuing connection to kin, Country and culture. We recognise self-determination, healing, dignity and respect are all fundamental elements needed to improve outcomes and relationships.

Later this year, Australians will be asked to have their say in a referendum to alter the Australian Constitution to establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament.

Your vote will affect the lives of other Australians, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Here’s some information to inform your decision.

The Voice is proposed to be an advisory group that will give independent advice to Federal Parliament on issues relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It will be community-led and will represent members’ communities, be culturally informed, and be accountable and transparent.

This is an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have a say on matters that affect them and advise Parliament and the government. The Voice cannot introduce legislation into Parliament, delay a bill from being voted on, or vote on legislation.

The question that will appear on the referendum ballot paper is:

“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?”

Voters will be asked to tick a “yes” or “no” box on the ballot paper in answer to the question.

A referendum is only passed if it is approved by a majority of voters across Australia and a majority of voters in a majority of states. This is known as a double majority.

The date is still to be confirmed, but it is expected to be held between October and December.

A referendum is a national vote about whether or not part of the Australian Constitution should change. Voters are given a question and asked to tick a “yes” or “no” box on the ballot paper.

It is compulsory for eligible voters to participate.

To watch a short video about what a referendum is, visit the Australian Electoral Commission.

Eligible participants are Australian citizens aged 18 and older.

If you are eligible to vote, make sure you are enrolled to vote.

For information about voting eligibility and how to enrol, visit the Australian Electoral Commission.

If you are turning 18 between October and December 2023, you can enrol to vote now. You must be enrolled before the electoral roll closes – which will be about one week before the referendum is held.

You can fill in an enrolment form either online or on paper. To enrol, you’ll need to provide identification such as driver’s licence, Medicare card, passport. An 18+ or Proof of Age card is not considered acceptable identification by the Australian Electoral Commission.

To enrol, visit the Australian Electoral Commission.

Voting will take place at designated locations, such as schools, community and church halls. These are generally advertised ahead of election day.

If you can’t vote in person on the day, there are other options, including postal votes. For more information on alternatives visit The Australian Electoral Commission.

On arrival, your name will be crossed off the electoral roll and you will receive a ballot paper, which has the proposed question and a place to tick “yes” or “no”. Tick only one box as any marks, scribbles or writing on the ballot paper may deem it an informal vote.

Voting closes at 6pm local time. Ballots are then counted with the tally of yes and no votes becoming progressively available.

For FAQs on a referendum visit the Australian Electoral Commission.

To learn more about the referendum process visit the Parliamentary Education Office.

The referendum is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to implement the Uluru Statement from the Heart. The statement was issued in May 2017, when more than 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegates from across the country gathered at Uluru and signed the historic statement that invites the nation to create a better future.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart is the culmination of 13 conversations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, known as Regional Dialogues, which arrived at a consensus about what constitutional recognition should look like. It is an invitation from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to all Australians, and one of its key features is to ask Australians to support meaningful constitutional recognition through providing a First Nations Voice.  

To read the Statement from the Heart in full and for more information visit, the Uluru Statement website.