Vast majority of voters still think First Nations Australians should have a voice

28 Nov 2023

Almost nine-in-10 voters, 87 per cent, think First Nations Australians should have a voice or say over matters that affect them, despite the defeat of the proposed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament.

That’s one of the key findings from the largest and most comprehensive survey on the October 2023 referendum on the possible constitutional change, led by The Australian National University (ANU).

The survey, which has been tracking more than 4,200 voters and their views on the proposed Voice to Parliament since January 2023, also found three-quarters, 76 per cent, of ‘no’ voters also think Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders deserve a voice when it came to key policies and political decisions.

Study co-author, Professor Nicholas Biddle, said the survey findings also showed most voters were supportive of some form of constitutional recognition for First Nations Australians.

“Our findings show that there is widespread support for a broad definition of constitutional recognition,” Professor Biddle said.


“Almost five times as many Australians, 61.7, said they would definitely or probably would have voted yes if there was a referendum on recognition compared to those who said that they would probably or definitely would have voted no – 12.5 per cent.”


According to the survey, most Australians, 71.9 per cent, also feel proud of First Nations cultures.


In addition, 79.4 per cent of Australians think that the Federal Government should help improve reconciliation, while 80.5 per cent think that Australia should ‘undertake formal Truth-telling processes to acknowledge the reality of Australia’s shared history.’


“So this raises serious questions about why the proposed referendum failed and saw more than 60 per cent of voters, and all states and territories, except the ACT, categorically reject it,” Professor Biddle said.


“Our findings suggest it is not such much the premise of recognition but the model that was being presented to voters at the referendum, among other key factors.”

The findings of the survey are released in full today.