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The Voice Referendum: Uncovering the Facts

  • 6 min read

We all want the best for Australia, a place where everyone can live a peaceful, fair, free, equal, and quality life. The upcoming referendum has stirred up some emotion in our communities, along with conflicting information and opinions in the media causing uncertainty on how to vote.

We've gathered unbiased facts to help you make an informed choice for your vote at the referendum.

The following ABC Video is a fabulous place to start. 

Click here to go to ABC'S complete article on 'The Voice Referendum, Everything You Need to Know'.

The Voice Referendum Questions and Answers

What is a Referendum?

A referendum is used to change the Australian Constitution. To be successful the proposal must be approved by the majority of voters nationwide, and also by the majority of voters ‘in the majority of the States’ (that is, in at least four states).

Since 1/1/1901, only 8 of the 44 proposals for constitutional change have been approved. The most recent successful referendum was in 1977.

What is the Referendum Question?

Australians will be asked to write the answer “yes” or “no” to this question:

“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?”

What is the Constitution?

The Constitution is a rule book for governing a country.

The Australian Constitution is the set of rules by which Australia is governed. It establishes the composition of the Australian Parliament, describes how Parliament works and what powers it has. For further information see 

During the 1890s colonial representatives came together at special meetings called 'constitutional conventions' to draft a constitution which would unite the colonies as one nation and provide for a new level of national government. It came into effect on 1 January 1901 – 122 years ago.

The Australian constitution is the only constitution of a first world nation with a colonial history that does not recognise its first people.

What are the Proposed Constitution Alterations?

The proposed law that Australians are being asked to approve at the referendum would insert the following lines into the Constitution:

In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia:
i. there shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice;
ii. 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;
iii. 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.”

What will the Body called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice Do?

This body, 'the Voice', would be an independent and permanent advisory body that advises the Australian Parliament and Government on matters that affect the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Click here for further information and here for the Voice design principles.

How did The Voice Referendum Come About?

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People have called for a political voice for nearly 100 years with the aim to to represent First Nations peoples in matters that affect their communities and to ensure that their perspectives are heard in the development and implementation of policies and programs.

Uluru Statement From The Heart
Uluru Statement From The Heart Artists with Uluru in the background

The Uluru Statement from the Heart Artwork and the Artists with Uluru in the Background

Image Sources: AntarQLD Newsletter and The Monthly Magazine

The Voice was proposed in the Uluru Statement from the Heart that was presented to the nation in 2017. The statement is a result of decades of research, reports, and calls for reform to recognise and protect the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Click here for the full story.

The Voice to Parliament Common Questions and Answers 

Many people have genuine questions about the referendum and some of the questions are due to misinformation and intentional disinformation that have appeared due to the public debate.

Click here for the answers to ten key questions about the most common myths which are addressed by experts - Gabrielle Appleby, Professor, UNSW Law School, UNSW Sydney; Geoffrey Lindell, Adjunct Professor in Law, University of Adelaide, and Hannah McGlade, Associate professor, Curtin University.

The Australian Government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice Referendum website is  This is a useful resource for information about the Voice.  Click here to go the website's frequently asked questions that include queries around the proposed model of the Voice.

AEC Referendum Information Fact Checks

We all received in the mail the Australian Electoral Commission official referendum information for a yes and a no vote.

It was written by politicians and was not fact checked before being published. Below are the fact check results from The Guardian and ABC:

The - The referendum's AEC vote NO pamphlet fact checked

The Guardian Newspaper - The referendum's AEC vote YES pamphlet fact checked

The ABC News - Fact Check Results for AEC Yes and No Campaign Pamphlets

Where Do I Vote?

Early voting is now open in all states and territories. Most voting will happen on October 14.

Polling booths open at 8am and close at 6pm local time. You can vote at any polling place in your state or territory — it doesn’t have to be in your electorate.

You can find locations to vote with the AEC’s Where to Vote tool.

In Summary

Only a vote by the people – a referendum – can change the Constitution. This makes it Australia’s choice to add words to our Constitution to:

  1. Recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of Australia
  2. To put in place an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice that will advise and provide expert advice to Parliament on issues that affect their communities.

Why is Urban Revolution's Vote Yes?

All of our team support a Voice to Parliament and a Yes vote at the Voice referendum. We acknowledge and accept the invitation put to the Australian people in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Our support to the Yes vote feels natural for our small business which is based on the Permaculture ethics of Earth care, people care, and fair share which is at the heart of everything we do.

A Once in a Life Time Opportunity

We see the Voice as an opportunity to demonstrate to our Indigenous people that we believe they deserve a fair share and a fair go. A chance to try something different.

We know the governance over the last two centuries has not worked for our First Nations people and has been highly detrimental to their people’s quality of life and to the health of Australia’s eco systems.

They do not have a representative body that provides, in a nationally coordinated way, the government and parliament with the views and experience of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are affected by their decisions.

Healthy First Nations Communities Heads Towards a Sustainable Future For Our Eco Systems

Image Sources: Gooniyandi Rangers Aid Flood Relief Efforts, Referendum Kimberley Roadshow, What Indigenous Rangers From Australia Can Share With Canada

Their Elders and leaders know and live the challenges in their communities, it is essential for all that they are heard to repair the health of their communities which will help all Australians heal the land.

Our hope is the Voice is the first step towards true reconciliation and tackling the gaping inequalities in our communities. We know it is not perfect and we also know that this may not be the view of everyone in our community and we respect various viewpoints - we just ask that you come to the conversation with an open heart and an informed mind.

Love from Jo and the Urban Revolution Team x


Feature Image Source: Karolina Tuszynska "dales-gorge" 2021


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