Our history and heritage

Why vote Yes in the referendum

Vote Yes to recognise Indigenous Australians in the constitution, listen to their voices about decisions that affect them, and make a practical difference.

Why Vote Yes

The content in this article is provided by Yes23. City of Sydney supports a Yes vote in the 2023 referendum.

On Saturday 14 October, Australians will have the opportunity to vote Yes to recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the constitution through a Voice.

This referendum is a request directly from Indigenous Australians that has been decades in the making, and is supported by more than 80% of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

The Voice doesn’t make new laws, control funding, or sit in the houses of Parliament – it simply provides informed advice to Government on issues that affect Indigenous Australians.

This referendum is about straightforward ideas and practical solutions:

  • Recognising and respecting 65,000 years of Indigenous culture for the first time in Australia’s 122-year-old constitution.
  • Listening to a diverse group of Indigenous Australians about the policies and challenges that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • Protecting the Voice from politics and bureaucrats by putting it in the constitution, giving it the security it needs to provide meaningful and honest advice.

When we listen to people about the decisions that affect them, we get better results. For the past 250 years, we haven’t properly listened to the people who have been here for 65,000. It’s time we did.

Vote Yes on 14 October. Photo: Abril Felman/City of Sydney
Vote Yes on 14 October. Photo: Abril Felman/City of Sydney

The challenge

Australians recognise that Indigenous communities face serious and unique challenges. There are real gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in life expectancy, infant mortality, health, housing, education and employment. For far too long, politicians have made decisions for Indigenous communities rather than with them – leading to policies that communities knew would never work and meaning problems still haven’t been fixed.

Indigenous Australians have made the reasonable request to be listened to about the issues important to their communities and given a chance to propose solutions. This is what the Voice will do.

The Voice is an idea formed over decades and agreed on in 2017 by more than 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders nominated by their communities. When Governments listen to people, they get better results and make better decisions.

  • The Voice will be a committee made up of everyday Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from across the country, with a diverse range of backgrounds, ages, and ideas.
  • The Voice will help local communities raise local challenges around health, education, housing and jobs.
  • The Government will still be responsible for all laws, programs and funding – the Parliament will still make all decisions.

Let's vote Yes for recognition, listening and better results this year.

Authorised by Dean Parkin, Australians for Indigenous Constitutional Recognition Ltd, 6/110 Walker St, North Sydney, NSW, Australia

The content in this article is published on yes23.com.au

The City of Sydney has supported the long campaign for the Australian constitution to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We encourage you to learn more about the proposal before you vote.

Authorised by Clover Moore in Sydney on behalf of Sydney City Council

Published 7 September 2023, updated 16 October 2023