Flick through this easy to understand booklet to learn more about the Voice
This is an historic year.
The Australian people will decide on recognition of Indigenous people in our Constitution at the 2023 Voice referendum.
The question the nation will answer is whether our country will finally move towards a settlement between the first Australians and those who took over the continent 235 years ago and established modern Australia.
Constitutional recognition of our first peoples.
The new Australia never recognised the old Australia, 65,000 years of our life, and instead relied on the fiction of terra nullius for more than 200 years until the High Court’s decision on native title in the Mabo Case. There has never been formal recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia, not when the Britons arrived in 1788, not when the colonies federated to form the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901, not ever.
So “why” ? Because there has been no formal recognition in Australia’s history, and recognition is foundational to reconciliation.
Many Australians from all walks of life agree, the status quo cannot continue. A new partnership with Indigenous people is needed so all Australians can move forward together, with confidence, into the future.
Because we are still a nation that does not recognise its Indigenous people in its founding legal document – our national birth certificate.
The ‘what’ is recognition. To say yes to the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the First Peoples of Australia by giving them a Voice in their own affairs — that is the “what” of this referendum.
‘How’ will we recognise the First Peoples?
By requiring parliament to establish a Voice in our own affairs.
The Voice referendum answers the “how” of recognition. How will we recognise the First Peoples? By requiring parliament to establish a Voice in our own affairs.
A Voice is how recognition can be achieved
It is also how we will – with much hard work, determination and partnership – close the gap. Through the voices of our local communities, families, our Elders and young people, our curators of our languages and culture.
Constitutional recognition through Voice is about creating a permanent partnership in the Constitution to ensure First Nations people can be listened to for generations to come, so our voices are included as a fundamental and positive part of the national story.