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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons.

On May 27, 1967, Australians voted overwhelmingly in favour of amending the Constitution to allow the Australian Government to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and include them in the census.

The campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote in Australia’s 1967 referendum gained widespread support among the Australian public. This was reflected in the final vote: 91% of Australian people were in favour of the amendment.

The referendum showed that the Australian people clearly wanted change for First Nations people and were willing to vote for constitutional change to achieve this.

Today, as we move towards truth, justice and reconciliation as a country, it will be the Australian people who will walk with us to compel Government action – as we saw with everyone who was involved in the 1967 referendum.

Learn these 5 facts about the 1967 referendum in Australia

  1. Until the successful 1967 referendum, First Nations people were not counted in the census and therefore weren’t considered part of the Australian population.
  2. Over 90% of Australians voted ‘YES’ in the 1967 referendum. This is the highest recorded ‘YES’ vote in Australian history. There have been 44 referendums in Australia since 1901 and only eight of those have returned a ‘YES’ vote.
  3. In 1967, there was not a campaign for a ‘NO’ vote. This is unique among Australian referendums. This meant that the ‘YES’ campaigners had a clear uncontested platform: this was a conscience vote on the concept of nationhood.
  4. The referendum outcome removed the exclusion in the Constitution that Federal Parliament could not make laws for Aboriginal people (Section 51), removed the wording in the Constitution that ‘Aboriginal natives should not be counted’ in the national census (Section 127), and provided a symbolic victory, acknowledging that First Nations people were part of the nation.
  5. The referendum outcome did not grant First Nations people the right to vote; this had already been achieved by 1967. It also did not secure all rights and equality for First Nations people, it only affirmed the broad principle of national inclusion.

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