The Australian Constitution is a document that outlines the fundamental principles for the system of government in Australia. The only way to change the Constitution is by holding a referendum. This means the Constitution cannot be altered without ‘the approval of the people’.
For a referendum to pass, a national majority of voters, as well as a majority of voters in a majority of the states (at least four states) must vote ‘yes’ to the change.
You can read more about the Constitution Alteration Bill and the Advisory Report on the Constitution Alteration:
There have been 44 referendums with eight proposed changes approved by a vote of the people. The most recent referendum was held in 1999 with proposals to establish Australia as a republic. The most recent changes to the Constitution were in May 1977, when three of the four questions put to voters that day were successful.
Proposed amendments have been on topics such as giving new powers to the Parliament, how referendums are conducted, and certain kinds of rights and freedoms – see a full list.
The question that will be put to voters is whether to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
The Parliament of Australia has agreed to propose adding a new chapter, Chapter IX-Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to the Constitution. The chapter would include a new section 129, which would be as follows:
129 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice
In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia:
i. there shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice;
ii. 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;
iii. 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.