During the 2022 campaign that propelled Labor leader Anthony Albanese to office, he pledged a plebiscite to grant Indigenous Peoples the authority to determine their own destinies. Over 17.5 million Australians are required to vote "yes" or "no" to the following 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?"
The referendum also holds the unique requirement that for it to succeed, it must secure a majority of all votes cast nationwide and achieve victory in 4 out of 6 Australian states.
Opinion surveys reveal division at the polls, with the "YES" option viewing the amendment as a way to heal wounds and bridge inequalities, while the "NO" side argues that it could foster division and impede governmental decisions.
"If we say Yes now, we can listen to their priorities and needs, and we as a nation can begin to come together after decades of growing apart."
If the "YES" option prevails, the Constitution will be modified to include three sections recognizing the creation and existence of "The Voice." This entitity will represent Indigenous peoples before the Parliament and Executive on matters concerning them.
The amendment also stipulates that the Australian Parliament will have the authority to legislate on the composition, functions, powers, and procedures relating to "The Voice."
This entity would be an advisory institution without binding powers, composed of an indefinite number of members elected by Indigenous communities.
These representatives, who would serve for five years, will undergo scrutiny through a parliamentary process and be overseen by the country's authorities.
Since Albanese began advocating for the referendum, "YES" preferences have not surpassed 46 percent. Additionally, the "YES" vote only holds a majority in Victoria and Tasmania.
Currently, Australian Indigenous peoples make up 3.8 percent of the country's 26 million inhabitants. Their social situation has not improved, as their unemployment rate exceeds 52 percent, and their life expectancy is 10 years less than the one of the general population.