Vote YES for the voice

The Australian government will hold a referendum between October and December, 2023 asking all Australians to decide: should we recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the constitution, with a voice?

If this vote, or referendum, is successful, it will do two things:

  • Recognise our people and their history in the Australian constitution.
  • Establish a committee called the voice, which will give us the right to advise the parliament and government of the day on laws and policies that affect us.

We need to have a say in decisions about us so we can create a better future for our people, our communities and our cultures.

1. What is the voice?

It is our voice, the voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, talking directly to the Australian government about laws and policies that affect us. We want them to improve our lives, not hurt us.

The voice will send messages from our homelands and communities directly to Canberra.

It will be made up of our representatives from communities around Australia. How these representatives are chosen will be decided by the parliament working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

2. Where did the voice come from?

The voice is one of three things asked for in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. These were a voice, treaty and truth-telling.

The statement was agreed by 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander delegates from across Australia at the Uluru Convention in May 2017.

Before the convention there were extensive Australia-wide consultations with thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people during 12 regional dialogues.

The regional dialogues occurred between 2016 -2017, at Darwin, Ross River, Torres Strait, Cairns, Brisbane, Dubbo, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, Perth.

The voice was developed through these dialogues.

3. How do we get the voice?

For the voice to be included in the constitution, all Australian adults will need to vote in a referendum.

All voters will be asked the following simple question:

“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?”

A majority of Australians need to write YES on their ballot papers, and a majority of states also need to support the voice, before the constitution can be changed.

4. Why does the voice need to be in the Australian constitution?

The constitution is the rule book governing Australia. It is important to include a rule that gives our people a way to talk to the parliament and the government in Canberra.

The constitution is difficult to change. Putting the voice in the constitution makes it strong and very hard for governments to take it away.

5. Who will be our representatives for the voice?

Our people will select the members of the voice. They will not be appointed by the government.

Members of the voice will be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. They will be chosen from each of the states, territories and the Torres Strait Islands. There will be additional representatives of remote communities.

The voice will have equal numbers of women and men and young people.

Members will serve on the voice for a limited time, so that there are regular opportunities for communities to decide if they are happy with the people representing them.

The way that members of the voice are chosen needs to suit the culture and wishes of their communities. We will work with the government on the process if the referendum is successful.

6. How will the voice represent our communities?

Members of the voice will have to listen to and work with their grass roots communities.

The voice will also talk with regional entities, such as Aboriginal councils and organisations. This will make sure that the advice the voice gives to the parliament and the government reflects what our communities want.

The voice will need to consult widely, including with people and groups who have not had an opportunity to be heard in the past.

7. What is a referendum?

A referendum usually asks a question or questions to which all voters must write either Yes or No. Referendums are very similar to elections. On polling day, electors go to a polling place and write their vote on a ballot paper.

All Australians over the age of 18 and who are enrolled to vote must vote in a referendum. You can check here if you are enrolled.
For a referendum to be successful it must achieve a double majority.

  1. A majority of voters across the country must vote Yes
  2. A majority of voters in at least four out of the six states must also vote Yes

Want more information or volunteer with the campaign? Go to :, or

It’s time our voice is heard!

Authorised by Lesley Turner, Central Land Council, 27 Stuart Highway Alice Springs