Don’t worry – we get it! Understanding constitutional recognition can be really tricky. The information on this website is intended to help you get your head around it before you head to the polling booths to cast your vote.
With this easy 3 step guide you can understand how changing Australia’s Constitution to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will work in practice.
Step 1: Understanding the parts of the Constitution that need to be changed.
Constitutional law is nowhere near as boring as it might sound. In fact, given that the constitution is Australia’s founding legal document, it is definitely something that we should all be getting at least a little excited about.
Step 1 of our constitutional recognition crash course is all about understanding what parts of the Constitution need to be changed (sections 25 and 51(xxvi)), and how we go about changing the Constitution by voting (a referendum).
Follow these links to learn more about:
Step 2: Be informed on what the proposed changes to the constitution are, and decide what you think of them before you cast your vote.
After getting a handle on the basics of constitutional law and the current state of our constitution, it’s time to think about what needs to change. What do we want from a referendum?
This is the area where there is currently the most discussion. In 2012, the Gillard Government put together an Expert Panel to suggest a number of proposed changes. They are outlined here:
However, these things tend to take a long time to actually develop, and since the first set of proposed changes, the growing discussion and the changeover to the Abbott Government in 2013 means that the changes we will eventually be voting on might look quite different to those put forward by the Expert Panel. Importantly, the precise wording of any changes to the constitution has not been finalised! This means that discussion and debate is still taking place. Make sure you read the other perspectives on what constitutional recognition could entail:
Step 3: Participate in the discussion, and eventually vote!
This third step is the most important. The key to understanding constitutional recognition is to talk about it as much as possible, and to really get involved in the discussion that is happening. You can learn all about it through our website, but also through other bodies, organisations and resource areas.
To make sure you stay in the loop with all the latest developments in the constitutional recognition discussion, we have our News Feed, where we link you all the most recent and interesting articles, opinion pieces, and general news about constitutional recognition.