A date has been set for the Voice to Parliament referendum

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament referendum
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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has announced that October 14 will be the date for the upcoming referendum that will decide whether or not an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament will be enshrined in the Australian constitution.

The Voice will be an independent body with the power to advise the government on policy, particularly relating to issues that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“It is the result of many years of deep thinking and consultation within widely diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities from across this continent,” Reconciliation Australia said in a statement.

“It is, as many have described it, a modest proposal from First Nations people to improve their circumstances by providing input into policy and other deliberations in Parliament and by the Australian Government.”

“The need for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have a say in their own lives has been at the heart of reconciliation for decades.”

The referendum will be the first in Australia since 1999, when the referendum for a republic was defeated. In October’s referendum, the question will read:

“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?”

If passed, the constitutional amendment will read:

“In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia:

  1. There shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice;
  2. 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;
  3. 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”

Like with other elections, voting is mandatory, and Australians will be required to write “Yes” or “No” in response to the referendum’s question. If you are enrolled to vote already, you won’t need to enrol separately to vote in the referendum, and early voting will be open from the Monday two weeks prior to the voting day.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament referendum

“On that day every Australian will have a once-in-a-generation chance to bring our country together and to change it for the better,” the Prime Minister said in his announcement.

“The Voice will be a committee of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, local representatives from every state and territory, the regions, remote communities as well as the Torres Strait Islands.”

“[…] we’ll be able to hear directly from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities about the challenges they face in health and education, in jobs and housing, and we’ll be able to learn about the things are working in local areas, so we can replicate them and make them work right around the country.”

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