The Referendum for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice
This year the Australian public will be asked to vote at a referendum on the proposal to amend the Constitution to provide for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth (Voice).
The Law Council of Australia has been a longstanding supporter of a constitutionally enshrined Voice, as articulated in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Consistent with this position, the Law Council has prepared guidance material that articulates the basis for its support for the Voice and explains the proposed amendment to the Constitution and its implications.
Amending Australia's Constitution to enshrine the Voice is an important proposed development in Australia’s legal system. As the national peak body for the legal profession, the Law Council has a role in ensuring that the proposed amendment is sound and accurately understood.
The Law Council’s view that the Constitutional amendment as proposed is constitutionally orthodox, just, and legally sound.
It is hoped this guidance material will benefit both the legal profession, and the Australian public, by providing accurate and informed material ahead of the referendum, so that all Australians can make a fully informed decision when voting.
The Law Council has prepared a series of factsheets addressing the following content:
- Factsheet 1 – Amending the Constitution
- Factsheet 2 – Compelling case for the Voice
- Factsheet 3 – Explanation of the proposed constitutional amendment
- Factsheet 4 – Frequently Asked Questions
Guide for the Legal Profession - Referendum for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice
The Law Council has also prepared a comprehensive Guide for the Legal Profession which is specifically targeted towards informing the Australian legal profession.
The Guide sets out: the origins of the Voice; the rationale for the Law Council’s support for the Voice; a description of the proposed Constitutional amendment; and outlines a position on key legal issues raised in public discourse about the Voice.
‘2023 REFERENDUM: The role and value of a constitutionally enshrined Voice’
On 20 September 2023, the Law Council hosted a webinar to discuss the origins, purpose, and constitutional implications of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Key speakers included Professor Megan Davis, the Hon Kenneth Hayne AC KC, Professor Cheryl Saunders AO, and Mr Greg McIntyre SC. Law Council President, Mr Luke Murphy moderated the session.
Other resources by Constituent Bodies
- New South Wales Bar Association – The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice resource webpage.
- Law Society of New South Wales – The Voice to Parliament resource webpage.
- Law Institute of Victoria – Reconciliation Hub webpage.
- Law Institute of Victoria – Webinar: 'Understanding the Voice to Parliament' by the Hon Kenneth Hayne AC KC, Jon Faine and Rachel Perkins.
- Law Institute of Victoria – ‘Simplicity of Voice proposal is its strength: Kenneth Hayne’ by Karin Derkley, Law Institute Journal.
- Law Institute of Victoria – ‘The Voice referendum: What role can lawyers play?’ by Paul Gerber and Katie O’Bryan, Law Institute Journal.
- Law Society of Western Australia – Voice to Parliament Portal.
- Queensland Law Society – Voice to Parliament Portal.
- Law Society of South Australia – It’s the Voice, try and understand it: A guide to the Constitution, referenda, and the proposed Voice to Parliament.
Authorised by the Law Council of Australia, 24 Lonsdale Street, Braddon, 2612.