Proposed constitutional reform legislation referred to new Joint Select Committee

Issue date: Tuesday, 4 April 2023

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The proposed provisions to amend the Constitution by referendum have been referred to the newly established Joint Select Committee on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice Referendum for inquiry and review.

The Constitution Alteration (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice) 2023 (Bill), introduced to the House by Hon Mark Dreyfus MP, Attorney-General, would – if passed at a referendum – amend the Constitution to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia.

It would also establish the Voice, intended to be an enduring institution to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can make representations to the Commonwealth Parliament and the Executive Government on matters that relate to them, improving the development and implementation of laws and policies.

Committee Chair Senator Nita Green said, ‘the Government has now released the legislation which will ultimately be the mechanism to change the Constitution once it has been taken to the Australian public. This is a critical opportunity for the Parliament to examine the legislative provisions and hear from experts to ensure that the bill gives effect to the creation of the Voice.’

‘The Committee is focused on the question of whether the legislative provisions achieve what is intended and give effect to the Government’s stated objectives before it moves to referendum’, Senator Green said.

The Committee invites written submissions addressing the provisions of the bill. Submissions to the inquiry must be prepared solely for the inquiry and should not be published prior to being accepted by the Committee.

Prospective submitters should note that the Committee does not intend to accept submissions that do not specifically address the provisions of the bill.

Submissions are requested by COB Friday 21 April 2023. Further information about making a submission to a committee inquiry can be found at the following link.

The Committee intends to hold public hearings. The dates and locations of hearings will be decided shortly and published as soon as possible.

Further information on the inquiry can be obtained from the Committee’s website.

Media inquiries

Lani Sprague, Media Adviser, Senator Nita Green (Senator for Queensland; Chair, Joint Select Committee on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice Referendum)
Ph: 0490 841 868 

For background information

Committee Secretariat
02 6277 2205

For more information about this Committee, you can visit its website. On the site, you can make a submission to an inquiry, read other submissions, and get details for upcoming public hearings. You can also track the Committee and receive email updates by clicking on the blue ‘Track Committee’ button in the bottom right hand corner of the page.

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