On Saturday, 27 May, 1967, Australians voted by an overwhelming majority to alter the Constitution to give Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders the right to be counted in all future censuses by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The vote was a huge victory for the “YES” camp: it won 90.77% of votes cast in all six States.
The 1967 vote was conducted amid an atmosphere of furious bipartisanship. All the main parties in Federal Parliament supported the proposal, so did the mainstream media and the enlightened (white) settler community. Prior to the 1967 referendum, Aborigines were counted in censuses as “half-castes” and “full-bloods” according to the insistence of the 1901 Attorney-General and future Prime Minister Alfred Deakin.
Now, in the 21st century, Australia’s First Nation people are asking for a voice to Federal Parliament so that their views can be recorded in an atmosphere free from name-calling and intolerance.
This time around, in October 2023, the nay-sayers are shouting their heads off and receiving massive press coverage. Warren Mundine, Senator Jacinta Price, National John Anderson are the leading spokespeople for those who want to deny history, and undermine the good hearts of Australian people.
However, the message from First Nation Peoples has been undeniable. They are saying – “In the 1967 Referendum we were given a vote, but in the referendum of October 2023 in the 21st century we need a voice to Federal Parliament to hear what concerns us in a tolerant and respectful way.” You know it makes sense, and that is why we should all vote “YES” on Saturday, October 14.