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Referendum 2023 date announced – Statement from Reconciliation Australia

Recognising First Nations Peoples – Australia’s date with history

Reconciliation Australia welcomes the announcement today that the Voice to Parliament referendum will be held on Saturday 14 October.

The question the Australian people will decide in the referendum is a simple proposition, a matter from the heart.

The question reads “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?”

The Voice is not Anthony Albanese’s idea. The Voice did not come from any politician. It is the result of many years of deep thinking and consultation within widely diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities from across this continent.

It is, as many have described it, a modest proposal from First Nations people to improve their circumstances by providing input into policy and other deliberations in Parliament and by the Australian Government.

The need for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have a say in their own lives has been at the heart of reconciliation for decades.

A recent report from the Productivity Commission found that the gap in social and economic indicators between First Nations and other Australians is not closing, with only four of the 19 targets on track to be met.

The Commission identified Governments appearing to have not “grasped the nature and scale of change required to accelerate improvements in life outcomes” as a key reason for the lack of success.

A Voice to Parliament would alter this equation and allow for the opinions of ordinary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities to be properly heard, resulting in better policies and better outcomes.

Listening to those on the ground, in the cities, the towns and remote communities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia as Governments formulate laws and policies that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia is a matter of common sense.

We can no longer have business as usual because the business is not working.

With a Voice the conversation between First Nations peoples and the rest of the country continues.

Reconciliation Australia urges all Australians of goodwill to inform themselves, to find out the facts and not be swayed by the misinformation and lies being spread in the lead up to 14 October.

We urge supporters of the Voice to get active, speak to your neighbours, your family, friends and work colleagues. Call out misinformation and racism when you see it.

We call on all community leaders, including politicians, to approach the debate in a respectful and truthful way, and above all else avoid stoking the sort of vitriolic racism that has defined much of the debate thus far.

The reemergence, in this debate, of racist stereotypes about First Nations peoples is causing damage to Australia’s fabric.

Over the next few weeks of the campaign, we urge unity before division, respect before abuse and truth above misinformation.

This is a chance to uplift Australia, a chance for Australians to feel proud that we are a nation ready for reconciliation and justice for the First Peoples of this land.

Vote Yes for Australia’s future.


Acknowledgement of Country

The NSW AECG Inc. acknowledges and pays respect to the Traditional Owners of this nation. We also acknowledge past, present and emerging Elders  and the continuation and celebration of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Please note: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should also be aware that this website may contain images or names of people who have passed away.