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  • Writer's pictureDavid James Connolly

The Voice: Collection of artifacts and links

Australian Electoral Commission: Referendum 2023

The Question

The question that will be put to voters is whether to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

The Parliament of Australia has agreed to propose adding a new chapter, Chapter IX-Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to the Constitution. The chapter would include a new section 129, which would be as follows:

When you receive a ballot paper at the referendum, you should write 'Yes' if you agree with this proposed change to the Constitution, or you should write 'No' if you do not agree.

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Australian Human Rights Commission

Voice Referendum: Understanding the referendum from a human rights perspective

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Australian Government

Constitutional alteration bill: Federal Register of Legislation

Australian Government Response to Joint Select Committee on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice Referendum report

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Final Advisory Report:

JSCATSIVR_Final Advisory Report on the Constitution Alteration_Government response May 202
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Indigenous Business Australia

IBA is arguably one of the longest standing and most successful Indigenous specific commercial organisations in Australia's history.

Originally known as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commercial Development Corporation (CDC), it was established in March 1990 following the proclamation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) Act 1989.

The original idea to create ATSIC and the CDC was first put to the Australian Parliament in December 1987. Legislation to give effect to that statement was introduced into Parliament in 1988. At that stage, it was envisaged that the corporation would be called the Aboriginal Economic Development Corporation. The second reading speech (Hand 1988) stated:

'The legislation provides for the establishment of a statutory corporation, under the control of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with a broad charter to engage in commercial and financial activities.

The Corporation’s primary function is to engage in commercial activities in accordance with sound business principles. In performing its functions, the Corporation is required to have regard to various matters which might be summarised as advancing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander economic interests. The Government expects that the Corporation will enhance the opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to begin to break free from the web of dependency and achieve a significant degree of economic independence'.

Corporate Plan 2023-2024

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National Indigenous Australians Agency

The National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) vision is to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are heard, recognised and empowered.

We recognise each First Nations community is unique. We work in partnership with community to make sure policies, programs and services meet their unique needs.

We work to support the Minister for Indigenous Australians.

Our Purpose

The National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) works in genuine partnership to enable the self-determination and aspirations of First Nations communities. We lead and influence change across government to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a say in the decisions that affect them.

Our Responsibilities

The National Indigenous Australians Agency was established by an Executive Order signed by the Governor-General on 29 May 2019.

The Executive Order gives the NIAA a number of functions, including:

  • to lead and coordinate Commonwealth policy development, program design and implementation and service delivery for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;

  • to provide advice to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Indigenous Australians on whole-of-government priorities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;

  • to lead and coordinate the development and implementation of Australia’s Closing the Gap targets in partnership with Indigenous Australians; and

  • to lead Commonwealth activities to promote reconciliation.

You can read the full list of responsibilities in the Executive Order.

NIAA Reconciliation Action Plan

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NIAA Organisation Chart

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Indigenous Australians' Health Programme

About the program

The Indigenous Australians’ Health Programme (IAHP) is our main overarching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health program. We fund Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) and other health initiatives through the IAHP.

The IAHP funds work under 4 themes:

  • primary health care services – such as immunisation, activities to reduce smoking or activities that improve service delivery

  • improving access to primary health care – such as coordinating care across service, increasing the cultural skills of the health workforce or supporting outreach services

  • targeted health activities – such as managing chronic conditions or improving the ear and eye health of children

  • capital works – such as buying, leasing, building or upgrading infrastructure.

These give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people better access to high-quality, culturally appropriate primary health care in remote, regional and urban areas.


Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

Our vision is a world in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and cultures are recognised, respected, celebrated and valued.

Who we are

We care for a growing collection of more than 1 million items encompassing films, photographs, audio recordings, art and objects, printed and other resource materials.

We conduct research to the highest ethical standards, directly benefiting the communities we work with.

We publish award-winning books and content that engages people with the story of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia.

Our partnerships span the globe, including government, academic, corporate, cultural and community sectors.

Our unique and dynamic convergence of knowledge, resources and expertise enable us to tell the nation's story and enhance the lives of all Australians.

Vision, mission and functions

  • To tell the story of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia.

  • Create opportunities for people to encounter, engage with and be transformed by that story.

  • Support and facilitate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural resurgence.

  • Shape our national narrative.

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  • to develop, preserve and provide access to a national collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage;

  • to use that national collection to strengthen and promote knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage;

  • to provide leadership in the fields of:

    • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research; and

    • ethics and protocols for research, and other activities relating to collections, related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and

    • use (including use for research) of that national collection and other collections containing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage;

  • to lead and promote collaborations and partnerships among the academic, research, non-government, business and government sectors and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in support of the other functions of the Institute;

  • to provide advice to the Commonwealth on the situation and status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage.


Australian Bureau of Statistics

Estimates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians

Key statistics

At 30 June 2021, there were 983,700 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, representing 3.8% of the total Australian population:

  • One-third (33.1%) were under 15 years of age.

  • The median age was 24.0 years.

  • Three-quarters (74.5%) lived in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia combined.

Indigenous status (individual categories)

Among the 983,700 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people in 2021:

  • 91.7% identified as Aboriginal

  • 4.0% identified as Torres Strait Islander

  • 4.3% identified as both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander.

Closing the Gap and National Government Reporting

ABS surveys, the Census of Population and Housing and other administrative data are a key source of information for Closing the Gap and national government reports.

These reports include information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on a range of topics such as:

  • Population and Demographics

  • Education and Work

  • Health and Disability

  • Crime and Justice

  • Culture and Language

  • Housing and Homelessness

Most of these reports provide analysis at national and/or state and territory levels, with some additional analysis by Remoteness areas.

Closing the Gap

The National Agreement on Closing the Gap (the National Agreement) includes 17 national targets and associated outcomes. It is based on four Priority Reforms that will change how governments work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.

Progress on the 17 national targets is monitored by the Productivity Commission and available in the Closing the Gap Information Repository. The Information Repository includes a data dashboard with the latest information on the 17 national targets and indicators, as well as the annual data report.

The ABS provided data and technical advice during the development of the National Agreement and continues to support the National Agreement through the Australian Government Closing the Gap implementation plan.

National Government Reporting


Can a Voice to Parliament improve Indigenous lives? | The Voice Referendum Explained | ABC News

What is the Indigenous Voice to Parliament hoping to fix? If the referendum passed, would it make it easier for these programs to get a national rollout, or just bureaucratic red tape that gets in the way? Subscribe: Read more here:

Carly Williams and Fran Kelly discuss whether a Voice to Parliament could provide local solutions for local problems. They look at the successes and shortcomings of youth programs in regional Australia and talk to the people running them to hear their views on the Voice.


Q&A FactCheck: Indigenous Housing | 29 August 2016

"We sat down with the Productivity Commission. We looked at the Indigenous space. $30 billion is spent in this space annually. $30 billion on 500,000 people and you still see the problems you get to see. What that tells me straightaway as a businessman, because I run my own business, is there's a lot of fun and games going in there and we need to sort that out and we need to find out where the wastage of our funding is." says Chair of the PM’s Indigenous Advisory Council, Nyunggai Warren Mundine AO


Indigenous affairs


The October 2022–23 Budget largely meets the Australian Labor Party’s (ALP) election commitments to First Nations peoples, albeit with some minor adjustments to timeframes, and some with additional funding. Key budget measures include:

  • next steps to implement the Uluru Statement from the Heart

  • justice reinvestment and targeted support for legal services

  • building the health workforce and infrastructure

  • repairs to remote housing and homelands infrastructure

  • a diverse range of land and heritage activities.

There are also measures relating to First Nations women, international engagement (discussed in the Uluru Statement Budget review article), and jobs and economic opportunities, as well as abolishing the Cashless Debit Card. Indigenous-specific budget measures not discussed in the Budget review articles are listed in Table 1.

The Government has reiterated its commitment to working under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap (the National Agreement). Some small budget measures relate to commitments under this agreement. These include establishing a Housing Policy Partnership, a commitment under Priority Reform 1 of the National Agreement, and first steps towards a First Nations digital inclusion strategy. Future Budgets will almost certainly need to provide much larger funding commitments against needs identified from these processes.

Of the $560.0 million over 4 years Support for Community Sector Organisations measure, the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) receives $47.5 million per year (p. 84). This funding, which community groups can apply for ‘on merit’, seeks to mitigate rising costs such as inflation and wage pressures.

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