A Monash University expert in human rights law who specialises in Indigenous legal rights is available to comment on the referendum date and what this means for the campaign.
Professor Paula Gerber, Monash Faculty of Law
Contact: +61 410 596 494 or email@example.com
Read more of Professor Gerber’s commentary at Monash Lens
The following can be attributed to Professor Gerber:
“Now that we have the date for the referendum, we can expect the Yes and No campaigns to ramp up their efforts to sway undecided voters. Through all the noise, it is going to be important to stay focused on the facts; what are we being asked to vote on and how will the outcome be determined.
“The only way the Constitution can be amended is if a majority of electors across the country approve the change and if a majority of states approve the change. This requirement for a ‘double majority’ means that for the Voice referendum to be successful, half of the national electoral roll must vote ‘Yes’ and 4 of the 6 states must also have majorities.
“There are three aspects to the proposal – recognising that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the First Peoples of Australia; establishing a body through which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can make representations to Parliament and the Executive; and giving Parliament the ultimate authority to determine how the Voice will function.
“In a regular election we decide which candidates we want and number our preferences accordingly. Referendums are different. To indicate our preference, we must write the word ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The Australian Electoral Commission has indicated that they will accept that a tick shows an intention to vote ‘yes’, but will not accept that a ‘x’ demonstrates an intention to vote ‘no’.
“On 14 October 2023, it is our civic responsibility to make an informed decision about the referendum question. There are just over six weeks to seek out information about the proposed constitutional change, and there are many reliable resources you can turn to for this information including, voice.gov.au and the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law.”
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