Albanese to suggest wording for referendum question on Indigenous Voice

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has prepared the suggested wording for a referendum question to be put to Australians to vote on altering the Constitution to enshrine an Indigenous Voice to parliament.

Albanese, who is in Arnhem Land for the Garma cultural festival, will announce the proposed wording in a speech during his visit.

The proposed question for the referendum will be: “Do you support an alteration to the Constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese attends the Garma Festival at Gulkula in East Arnhem. (Getty)

It will be the first referendum in 20 years and the wording is not locked in, Albanese said.

“We are seeking a momentous change – but it is also a very simple one.”

The wording of a referendum is taken incredibly seriously given the legal significance of such a vote. It is partly why referendums happen so infrequently in Australia.

Albanese said the proposal was “a straightforward proposition”.

“A simple principle. A question from the heart,” he said.

Albanese said his government, if the referendum succeeded, recommended adding three sentences to the constitution:

  1. There shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice
  2. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to parliament and the executive government on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  3. The parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to the composition, functions, powers and procedures of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

No date has been set for the referendum but Labor has indicated it will be before the next election, which is due in 2025.

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