A proposal to change existing referendum legislation, paving the way to establishing a vote on an Indigenous Voice to parliament, was introduced in parliament this morning.
Introduced by Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, the Constitutional Alteration Bill will get the ball rolling on this year’s upcoming referendum set to take place between October and December.
Part of the bill is set to modernise rules around information distribution and political donations, changing regulations that were relevant during the 1999 republic referendum.
Mr Dreyfus, said that the legislation will allow Australians to “rectify 120 years of explicit exclusion in provisions of Australia’s founding document.”
“The constitution never recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first peoples of this country.
They were not represented in the constitutional conventions leading into federation.
Constitutional recognition is an opportunity to acknowledge our history and come together for a more reconcilable future,” he said.
Federal minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney said that the introduction of the bill is “one step closer to making history” and a step closer to ensuring that Indigenous perspectives are heard.
Burney also took aim at those who have opposed the voice.
“Those doubters, those wreckers, they want to hold Australia back.
We want to take Australia forward, more united, more hopeful, and more reconciled,” she said.
The bill will be sent to a committee for examination, a process that may last up to six weeks.
Once the bill is passed, the government will have six months to trigger the process, meaning that the bill will need to be passed in July’s sitting fortnight in order for an October referendum.