How to change Australia's Constitution: Referendums
The power of the Australian people to make change to the Constitution is given to them by Section 128, 'Mode of altering the Constitution' – '…a proposed law is submitted to the electors [and] the vote shall be taken in such a manner as the Parliament prescribes'.
For a referendum to be successful and the Constitution alteration passed, a double majority vote must be achieved, which is:
- a majority of voters in a majority of states (at least 4 of the 6 states)
- a national majority of voters (an overall YES vote of more than a 50%).
If the double majority is achieved and the proposed Constitutional alteration is approved, 'it shall be presented to the Governor-General for the Queen's assent'. (Section 128)
The records in this classroom resource relate to the 1967 Referendum and illustrate the process of a referendum from proposal to Royal Assent. Find out more about how we make changes to our Constitution by visiting the 'About' tab of the records below:
- Confidential Cabinet Minute re 1967 Referendum
- Writ for a Referendum and the 'Proposed Law' Bill
- 'Case for Yes' in the 1967 Referendum
- Western Australian Ballot Paper for 1967 Referendum
a. Polling Day - How to vote cards
- Counting the Votes: Tally Sheets
- Return of the Writ to the Governor-General
- PM Holt's Press Release
- Commonwealth of Australia Gazette Notice
- Constitution Alteration (Aboriginals) 1967
- What is a referendum?
- What are the various stages of the referendum process and what role does the Australian Parliament have in the process?
- What role do the Australian people have in a referendum and what gives us this power?
- Click on record links below to see the primary sources related to the above Referendum Process.
- Click on the 'About' tab attached to some records to learn more about that record.