The Voice survey (1024 × 300px)

Australians will vote in a referendum on 14 October to decide if there should be amendments to the Constitution to enshrine an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

Got a question for us on The Voice or Referendum process? Ask The Squiz

For a referendum to succeed, you need 2 things: 

  • a national majority of voters - so that is more than 50% of all Aussies voting ‘Yes’; 
  • and you need a majority of states - so at least 4 of the 6 states each need to record a ‘Yes’ vote of more than 50%.

A little quirk to note: voters in the ACT and the Northern Territory don’t count on that second front - their vote goes towards the national total…

Changing Australia’s Constitution is hard… Of the 44 referendums that have been held, 8 have been carried. 

In this podcast episode, we'll get across the basics of the referendum, the key arguments of the Yes and the No cases, and what happens next depending on the result.

Below we've outlined the main arguments of the 'Yes' and 'No' cases.

The 'Yes' Case

• Recognising Indigenous people in our Constitution is an important step towards reconciliation.

• A formal structure to ensure the government listens to their advice will deliver results for Indigenous people across critical areas like health, education and housing.

• The Voice will ensure Indigenous people have a better life and do what even good-intentioned governments have not been able to deliver in the past. 

• Governments have spent billions of dollars trying to improve outcomes for Indigenous Australians - and it hasn’t worked. This is the best chance to actually listen to Indigenous Australians - and that will lead to improvement.

The 'No' Case

• We don’t have enough detail on how the Voice would work. 

• Constitutional change is risky, and from what’s known of the proposal, there is the prospect of legal challenges that will disrupt the functioning of government.

• The issue is divisive and will “open the door for activists” who are seeking expensive reparations and compensation for what happened in the distant past.

• And it won’t help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people because the Voice is more bureaucracy. There is already a National Indigenous Australians Agency which has 1,400 staff… and The Voice would be an unnecessary additional layer. 

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Got questions? We've got you covered...

Each week in a special Ask The Squiz podcast episode we'll be answering your questions on the referendum and The Voice. Subscribe to the Squiz Today podcast on Apple or Spotify. Click below to submit yours.

ASK THE SQUIZ - Episode 6

In this episode we cover questions covering details about the Voice, how much the 'Yes' and 'No' campaigns are spending, and how the territories' votes are counted.

ASK THE SQUIZ - Episode 5

In this episode we cover some thorny issues around race, what the discussion about treaty is about, and how the Voice representatives would be selected if the referendum gets up.

ASK THE SQUIZ - Episode 4

In this episode we cover questions about the wording of the proposal, how other nations do this kind of thing, and the difference between a referendum and a plebiscite.

ASK THE SQUIZ - Episode 3

In this episode we cover the issue of campaign funding, who will represent the Voice, and how to postal vote if you can't get to the voting booth on 14 October.

ASK THE SQUIZ - Episode 2

In this episode we cover questions about claims that legal challenges could be brought about by the Voice, the difference between the Voice and existing Indigenous agencies, and the referendum process itself.

ASK THE SQUIZ - Episode 1

In this episode we cover questions about improving Indigenous outcomes, the risks of constitutional change, and the ticks and crosses of voting.

Further Resources

A look at the Voice proposal

In this Shortcut we cover how a referendum works, what a Voice to Parliament is, and potential hurdles that will need to be overcome.

The Uluru Statement From The Heart

The Uluru Statement From The Heart covers three things: Voice, Truth, Treaty. Get across what it's about and how it might be delivered.

A Kid's Guide to Referendums

A 2-part, educational podcast series for primary-school kids and their families, answering the questions: What's a Referendum? and How do Referendums Work?

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