The Voice Referendum

Darebin Council gratefully received advice from the Darebin Aboriginal Advisory Committee about The Voice to Parliament referendum.

For over 20 years, Aboriginal members of Darebin Aboriginal Advisory Committee (DAAC) have been providing advice and recommendations to Council on matters affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Darebin. On 24 July, Council gratefully received the DAAC advice, supported the actions and requested Council to implement the DAAC recommendations.

Read the DAAC's advice to Council on the Voice to Parliament Referendum.

DAAC’s advice primarily acknowledges that there is a diversity of views within the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, reflecting a diversity of experiences, knowledge, and perspective.

Council has committed to implement three actions recommended by the DAAC including:

  1. Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the next few months as the Referendum campaign plays out
  2. Encouraging the whole of Darebin community to inform and educate themselves about the Voice to Parliament and support them to do so
  3. Continuing to work towards truth telling and stand up against racism, as this is the foundation for progress towards self-determination and Treaty.

Council is also in the process of seeking the formal position of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, the First People’s Assembly of Victoria and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.

As part of this Council is committed to facilitating culturally safe, respectful and inclusive conversations and pointing to accurate sources of information in all our actions around The Voice.

Finding accurate information and resources

On this page you will find links to accurate and culturally safe information about the referendum to help you enrol, find out more and inform your vote.

Acting with respect and care

The referendum is generating a lot of interest and discussion. This can be particularly challenging for Aboriginal and Torres Islander community members. it is important that as a community, everyone in Darebin is mindful of this and respectful in all interactions with one another around the Voice Referendum.

If you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community member and need support at this time, you can reach out to a range of culturally informed national and local helplines or groups:

If you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community member and are experiencing racism at this time, we encourage you to report this to the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) through their dedicated community reporting tool.

Anyone in the community can also report racism using this tool and we encourage everyone to report racism if you see it or experience it.

Report racism through the VEOHRC website

Helpful advice

If you are a non-Aboriginal community member, here are some tips on how you can help support cultural safety at this time:

  1. Educate yourself on The Voice and The Uluru Statement from the Heart.
  2. Create safe spaces for First Nations Peoples.
  3. Acknowledge the impact being the centre of political debate has on First Nations Peoples.
  4. Don't speak for First Nations Peoples or assume their stance on The Voice.
  5. When safe to do so, stand up against racism and stereotypes.
  6. You don't have to agree, but you do have to be respectful.

Source: Relationships Australia Queensland

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has also recognised that current conversations about the referendum and proposed Voice to Parliament have the potential to be harmful Aboriginal peoples. The Commission has produced resources that seek to minimise harm by encouraging cultural humility and focusing the conversation on human rights principles.

Understanding what the Voice referendum is about

On 14 October 2023, all eligible Australian citizens aged 18 years and over will vote on whether Australia should change its Constitution to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia by establishing a body called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

This stems from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community calls in the 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart.

The federal government's website on the Voice provides accurate, factual and easily accessible information (including in several different languages) about what the referendum is, why it is happening now, what the Voice is proposed to be, how it would be set up, and other information.

All of this information is summarised in an information booklet translated into 35 languages.

For community members who want details, the Voice federal government website also provides all the background that led to this proposal, the principles that would underpin the Voice, the constitutional advice and the technical reports supporting implementation.

How to participate in the referendum

A referendum is a vote to change the Australian Constitution, the set of rules by which Australia is run.

All Australian citizens over 18 can vote. It is important to vote so that everyone’s opinions are heard.

To be able to vote, you need to be enrolled on the Australian electoral roll - use the button below to enrol via the Australian Electoral Commission website . Make sure you are enrolled so you can have a say - and also because the law says all eligible Australian citizens must enrol and vote in elections, by-elections and referendums (you can be fined otherwise).

Enrol to vote - go to Australian Electoral Commission website

To support people across Australia to take part in the referendum, the AEC has developed community education session packs to explain the referendum process and how to take part in it. These can be used by community to run their own information sessions. You can also read them on your own to get a better understanding of how referendums work and how to participate.

Community education packs are available for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities as well as non-Aboriginal communities.

You can also access the AEC information about the referendum in 35 languages.

Further supporting Darebin communities to talk and find out more about the Voice

Council venues are available for hire to local organisations and community groups who want to:

  • Facilitate information or community education sessions regarding the Voice to Parliament for the whole, or for targeted sections of the, community (for example, multicultural community groups)
  • Facilitate culturally safe and respectful information sessions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members to learn more about the Voice to Parliament
  • Organise activities that promote health and wellbeing, self-care or connection for the Aboriginal community

In addition to Council’s standard terms and conditions for venue hire, and in the spirit of both ensuring cultural safety and respecting Aboriginal self-determination, additional guidelines have been put in place.

Please contact the Community Hubs team for advice.