City of Sydney

09/29/2023 | News release | Distributed by Public on 09/28/2023 08:14

Top 9: Your questions about the Voice to Parliament answered

If you're younger that 42 years old, that means this will be your first referendum on 14 October.

So we're gathered the 9 most commonly asked questions and got answers straight from the experts.

What is the referendum about?

Referendums are how we change the Constitution of Australia. This year's question is about constitutional recognition through a Voice to Parliament.

Co-chair of the "Yes" campaign and Arrernte and Kalkadoon woman, Rachel Perkins explains what that would look like. "The Voice is just advice. That's all it is," said Rachel.

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Do Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples support it?

According to many studies, such as those by Reconciliation Australia, around 80% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people believe the Voice to Parliament is important.

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How will this impact communities

Aunty Donna Ingram is an Elder of the Redfern Aboriginal community. She talks about how the very framework of the Voice will impact her community.

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Will this divide Australians by race?

Dr Shireen Morris is an expert in constitutional reform and Indigenous constitutional recognition.

She points out that Australians are already divided by race in the constitution. "This is about uniting the country," said Shireen.

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Aren't the Indigenous MPs already an Indigenous Voice?

That's not quite how our democracy works. "Every MP in Parliament has to represent every Australian in their electorate and their political party," said Shireen.

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Does this mean non-Indigenous people are going to loose rights?

Thomas Mayo is a Kaurareg Aboriginal and Kalkalgal, Erubamle Torres Strait Islander man. He's been a huge advocate of the Voice since signing the Uluru Statement from the Heart back in 2017.

He debunks how having an advisory body means anyone else loosing rights.

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Where is the detail?

A common complaint is that there isn't enough detail about the Voice to Parliament.

Professor Anne Twomey explains why more detial would be a terrible idea. Anne is a lawyer specialising in Australian constitutional law and has worked everywhere from the High Court of Australia to the various government departments and legal firms.

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Why do we need constitutional change?

There's actually been 5 Indigenous advisory bodies in the last 50 years. Anne explains why having the Voice to Parliament is a great idea for respect and stability.

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How can I get involved

We're drawing closer and closer to the 14 October deadline. If you'd like to get involved, head to to volunteer.

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Authorised by Clover Moore in Sydney on behalf of Sydney City Council