Yes or no? Australians are scratching their heads in confusion on what to vote for in the current Voice to Parliament debacle.
To find out what Australians are thinking in relation to the upcoming Voice to Parliament referendum, we carried out a survey of the Hunter and Blight audience in August 2022 and repeated the survey in December 2022. In conjunction with our colleagues at CoreData Research, we polled more than 1,100 people aged 18 and over each time.
Originally, when asking members how they planned to vote in August 2022, eight in 10 respondents (80 per cent) said that they would support the issue and vote yes. Just over four months later, panelists were surveyed again and, surprisingly, their support has dropped with now only six in 10 (60 per cent) planning to vote yes.
Despite the decline in support to vote yes in the Voice to Parliament referendum, interestingly the latter survey found an increase in what Australian panelists think of the issue.
In August 2022, only 36 per cent of survey respondents thought the Voice to Parliament was an important issue. That number is now 60 per cent.
Although the support from Aussies has slipped by 20 per cent, Hunter and Bligh’s December 2022 survey found that the overall awareness and understanding of what the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament is, has slightly grown.
What is Voice to Parliament? Originating from the Uluru Statement From the Heart, the idea is that Australian people come together to make fair and practical change through constitutional recognition that would enable “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to provide advice to the parliament on policies and projects that impact their lives.” As proposed by the Uluru Statement, the referendum would allow the Australian government to make policies with rather than for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Despite the Albanese government proposing a change to better recognise these communities, Hunter and Bligh found that more than half (55 per cent) of Australian survey respondents are not comfortable in voting in the referendum unless the exact changes are known prior to this.
As of Wednesday 01 February 2023, the wording of the Australian Constitution to better recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is not final.