Voting in the Voice to Parliament Referendum: Understanding the Proposed Changes to the Australian Constitution

Many Australians are eagerly awaiting the upcoming Voice to Parliament referendum, but what exactly does this referendum entail? Unlike an election where you vote for individuals to hold public office, a referendum allows citizens to decide whether they wish to make changes to the country’s constitution. The constitution serves as a set of rules that outline how a country or state is governed. In the case of Australia, the constitution was created during the 1890s when representatives from the colonies came together to draft the document.

The proposed change in the Voice to Parliament referendum is aimed at adding a ninth chapter to the Australian Constitution. This addition is in response to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which calls for constitutional recognition and a Voice for Indigenous Australians. The new chapter would be inserted after Chapter 8 and just before the Schedule and Notes. Voting ‘yes’ in this referendum would result in the proposed change being approved, and the constitution would become nine chapters. On the other hand, voting ‘no’ would mean that the proposed change does not pass, and the constitution would remain intact with its current eight chapters.

It is important to note that the Australian Constitution does not cover all aspects of the country’s governance. For example, it does not mention the prime minister and cabinet, as their roles are based on convention. Additionally, the constitution does not include a bill of rights, as rights in Australia are protected by common law and statute law.

As Australians head to the ballot box on October 14, they will be asked whether they approve of the proposed change to the constitution. Regardless of the outcome, it is worth acknowledging that changes to the constitution have been made before through referendums. Over the years, there have been 44 referendums, with eight proposed changes approved by the people. The most recent referendum, held in 1999, aimed to establish Australia as a republic but was not successful.

– What is a referendum? A referendum is a voting process that allows citizens to decide on proposed changes to their country’s constitution or laws.
– What is the Australian Constitution? The Australian Constitution is a document that sets out the rules for governing Australia. It defines the structure and powers of the federal government, as well as the relationship between the federal and state governments.
– Who proposed the change in the Voice to Parliament referendum? The federal government proposed the addition of a ninth chapter to the Australian Constitution in response to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which calls for constitutional recognition and a Voice for Indigenous Australians.
– What happens if the proposed change is approved? If the proposed change is approved through the referendum, the Australian Constitution will have a ninth chapter.
– Can the constitution be changed in other ways? No, the constitution can only be changed through a referendum. Any law passed by the federal parliament that contradicts the constitution is invalid.