A guide to resources around the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Voice referendum
The purpose of this guide is to offer valuable resources to assist members of the Library community in actively participating in discussions concerning the Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
It aims to provide information about the Uluru Statement From The Heart and empower individuals to make well-informed decisions when voting in the imminent referendum.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, also known as the Indigenous Voice to Parliament (in this guide, "the Voice"), aims to establish a representative body comprised of First Nations individuals, with the purpose of advocating for the perspectives and interests of Indigenous communities.
As this necessitates a change to the Australian Constitution, this will be decided by a referendum. If it is approved, the Voice will be granted constitutional authority within the Australian Constitution. This will enable the Voice to advocate for Indigenous Australians by making representations to the Parliament of Australia and the executive government on relevant matters.
Upon a successful referendum vote, the government will be responsible for designing the precise structure of the Voice, which will subsequently be implemented through legislation passed by Parliament.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart, also known as the Uluru Statement, represents a significant appeal for constitutional, legal, and structural reforms put forth by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to the entire Australian population. This pivotal statement was issued during the First Nations Constitutional Convention held at Uluru on 26th May 2017.
Read the full Uluru Statement.
The referendum date is October 14, 2023 (announced August 30, 2023)
It is stated on the Australian Electoral Commission website that:
Similar to standard elections, the referendum date is based upon a writ signed by the Governor General that states the referendum voting date (as well as the close of electoral roll changes, and the date of the return of the writ). The referendum date must be between 33 to 58 days from the date of the signed writ.
As the referendum bill passed parliament on June 19, 2023, the referendum date of October 14, 2023 is within the timeframe set by legislation rules, which is between August 2023 and December 2023.
See the relevant legislation: Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984
As stated on the Australian Electoral Commission's Referendum FAQ page:
Voting is compulsory for Australian citizens aged 18 years or older. If you do not vote and don’t have a valid and sufficient reason, you may be fined. The AEC will write to you at the address listed on the electoral roll and ask you to provide a reason why you did not vote.