Oct. 14, 2023 Confirmed


More Info:

At Stake in this Election: 

On 14 October 2023, Australian citizens will vote on whether to establish an Indigenous consultative body, known as the Voice to Parliament. The Voice would be composed of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives who would advise Parliament on issues relating to their communities, but it would not have the power to make or veto laws.  

The question on the ballot is as follows:  

“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?” 

Response options: Yes or No 

The proposed constitutional change would be the addition of Chapter IX, Article 129:  

“129 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice 

In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia: 

  • there shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice; 

  • the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; 

  • the Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its composition, functions, powers and procedures.” 

  • Government Structure:  

    • Chief of State: King CHARLES III (since 8 September 2022) represented by Governor General David HURLEY (since 1 July 2019) 

    • Head of Government: Prime Minister Anthony ALBANESE (since 23 May 2022) 

    • Assembly: bicameral Parliament with a 76-seat Senate and a 151-seat House of Representatives 

    Electoral System:  

    • The King is a hereditary monarch. 

    • The Governor General is nominated by the Prime Minister and appointed by the King. 

    • The leader of the Parliamentary majority is appointed Prime Minister by the Governor General. 

    • In the Senate, all 76 members are directly elected by proportional representation vote from multi-seat constituencies (12 members from each state and 2 members from each mainland territory). Members serve 6-year terms and half of all seats are up for election every three years. 

    • In the House of Representatives, members are directly elected by majority preferential vote in single-seat constituencies. Members serve 3-year terms. 

    Last Election: 

    In 1999, a referendum was held with provisions to add a preamble to the Australian constitution and leave the Commonwealth to become a republic. Both provisions failed, and voter turnout was 94%. 

    New/Unique in this Election:  

    The Australian Electoral Commission has conducted extensive voter registration efforts in the lead-up to the referendum, achieving the highest Indigenous (94.1%), youth (90.3%), and overall (97.5%) voter registration figures in the country’s history. 

    Key Deadlines: 

    • Voter registration deadline: 18 September 2023 

    Population and Registered Voters: 

    Gender Data: 

    Disability Data: 

    IFES Resources: 

    • Does IFES have a presence in Australia: No 

    • Election Access: Yes 

    • Election Judgements: Yes, 17 judgments and 16 resources