The 1967 Referendum

The 1967 Referendum

The 1967 Referendum to amend the Australian Constitution allowed the Commonwealth of Australia to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and include them in the census. 

Prior to the referendum, the affairs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were the responsibility of the state governments. This meant that policies and approaches would differ from state to state. Also, given the nature of the Constitution, it meant that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people could not be counted in the Federal Census. 

The 1967 Referendum put the following question to the Australian people:

Do you approve the proposed law for the alteration of the constitution entitled ‘An Act to alter the Constitution so as to omit certain words relating to the people of the Aboriginal race in any state so that Aboriginals are to be counted in reckoning the population’?

The 1967 Referendum was the most successful referendum result in Australian history, with over 90 percent of the Australian population voting yes. 

StateForAgainstResult
Votes%Votes%
New South Wales1,949,03691.46182,0108.54Yes
Victoria1,525,02694.6885,6115.32Yes
Queensland748,61289.2190,58710.79Yes
South Australia473,44086.2675,38313.74Yes
Western Australia319,82380.9575,28219.05Yes
Tasmania167,17690.2118,1349.79Yes

 

Due to the success of the referendum, there are a number of myths that exist. These include the misconceptions that the referendum granted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people citizenship, the right to vote and access to social security. 

While the 1967 Referendum ensured that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were counted, it did not recognise their past and did not establish practical solutions for the challenges faced by them. 

That’s why we need to progress to the next step with a Voice to Parliament.

A Voice to Parliament will give the Australian Government the opportunity to make policies with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, rather than for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  

If you would like to take part in our campaign for a Voice, please sign up to From the Heart.

If you want to learn more about the Uluru Statement, check out our FAQ page.

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