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Friday, May 18, 2018

1967 Referendum on Aboriginal Rights

In 1967, 90.77 per cent of Australians voted yes for a change that they believed would improve the lives of Indigenous peoples.

They thought the referendum gave Aboriginal people citizenship rights and the right to vote.

In fact, it did neither of these two things.

The two changes that did occur were, firstly, that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were to be included in the census, and secondly that the Federal Government was given the power to make laws for Indigenous people.

Up until that point, Indigenous people were the responsibility of the states.

At the time of the referendum, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people could vote in every part of Australia, with the Queensland laws being the last to change in 1965.