Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Australia 2017 - 1967 Referendum

ISSUE DATE: 24 May 2017
STAMP SIZE:26 x 37.5 mm
STAMP DESIGN: Rachael Sarra

Prior to the historic 1967 federal referendum, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples did not have the same rights as other Australians under the constitution: the federal government could make special laws in relation to any Australians other than Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who were instead subject to the varying and often highly discriminatory laws of state governments.

On 27 May 1967, Australians voted in a federal referendum involving two questions. The first related to the balance of numbers in the Senate and the House of Representatives. The second question, the one for which the referendum is remembered, concerned changes to the constitution that would empower the federal government to make legislation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, in the same way it could for all other Australians, and would include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the census. The aspiration was for all Australians to be treated equally under the constitution.

By 1967, the mood to rid the constitution of discrimination was growing, including within parliament. In fact, a “no” campaign was never even formulated. The vote was decisive, with 90.77 per cent of Australians voting “yes”. In the wake of the vote, the Constitution Alteration (Aboriginals) Act 1967 (Cth) received assent on 10 August 1967.

On 27 May 2017, it will be 50 years since the historic “yes” vote took place.


Stamp images and description thanks to Australia Post

Australia Post