Albanese reveals Indigenous Voice referendum question

Albanese reveals Indigenous Voice referendum question

AUSTRALIANS are asked in a referendum whether they support an indigenous voice in parliament and the executive.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese outlined the details of the vote after months of talks and consultations by the referendum working group.

Voters are asked: “A proposed law: to amend the constitution to recognize the first peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice. Do you agree to this proposed change?”

The question is virtually identical to the draft outlined by the Prime Minister at Arnhem Land’s Garma Festival last July.

The constitutional amendment includes the addition of three clauses: “There shall be a body to be called the Voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;

“The voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people can be brought before Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;

“Parliament shall have the power, subject to this Constitution, to make legislation in relation to matters affecting the voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including their composition, functions, powers and procedures.”

The proposed opening words of the Constitution read: “In recognition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first peoples of Australia”.

“It’s a simple question – an affair of the heart,” Mr. Albanese said.

The details followed the Coalition and Labor who reached an agreement on Wednesday night to pass legislation to set out the rules for information and how the referendum is conducted.

While the Nationals oppose the vote, the Liberal party hall has yet to establish a position or declare that members will have a vote of conscience.

A referendum on the vote is due later this year. Photo: LUKAS COCH/AAP IMAGE

Mr Albanese said that constitutional reform should come before partisan politics.

As part of the agreement between the government and the opposition to hold the referendum, neither campaign will be publicly funded.

Taxpayers only foot the bill for a neutral awareness campaign to educate voters about the vote and the referendum, but donations to both campaigns are tax-deductible.

The mobile query period for remote communities has been extended to 19 days and a greater number of identification methods are accepted to login or update the login.

The referendum is scheduled to take place between October and December.


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