Aboriginal Studies Student Work - Referendum Explained
Posted on October 12, 2023
The 2023 Australian Indigenous Voice Referendum Explained
What is a Referendum?
A referendum is a special kind of vote where all eligible citizens are invited to decide on a specific proposal. It can impact the entire nation or a specific region and leads to the adoption of new policies or laws. In 2023, the Australian government plans to hold a referendum between October and December.
Why Do We Need One?
Australia is a democracy, and every voice matters. However, Indigenous Australians make up only about 3% of the population, making it challenging for their concerns to be heard. To ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a say in laws, policies, and programs affecting their lives, the Australian First Nations Voice to Parliament Referendum proposes a change to the Constitution. This change would create a governing body representing First Nations people on matters related to their communities, safeguarding their cultural heritage and rights.
What Does The Voice Do?
The Voice would provide independent advice to the Parliament and Government. It would:
- Make representations to the Parliament and Executive Government on matters concerning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
- Proactively make representations.
- Respond to requests for representations from Parliament and the Executive Government.
- Have its own resources for research and representation.
- Encourage Parliament and the Executive Government to seek its input early in the development of proposed laws and policies.
Will the Referendum Pass?
The outcome is uncertain because this referendum involves a significant change to the Constitution. However, it's crucial for as many citizens as possible to weigh the decision and make their voices heard. The question that all Australians will be asked between October and December this year is: "Do you approve of a Proposed Law to alter the Constitution to recognize the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?" The answer is for you to decide.
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