Communique for the Referendum Working Group - 16 February 2023


The Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Attorney‑General, the Special Envoy for Reconciliation and the Implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and the Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians met with the Referendum Working Group at Parliament House in Canberra.

Update from Government

The Working Group received an update on recent developments, including on the progress of the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Amendment Bill 2022.

Constitutional Expert Group

The Working Group heard from members of the Constitutional Expert Group and discussed the wording of the constitutional amendment.

The Working Group discussed minor technical changes and agreed to give further advice on outstanding matters at the next meeting.
The Working Group noted the Government’s intent to introduce the Constitution Alteration Bill in late March 2023.

Members of the House crossbench

The Working Group had a positive meeting with Members of the House crossbench and discussed the progress made to date and the path forward.

The Hon Peter Dutton MP & Julian Leeser MP

The Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Attorney-General and Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians attended their second Working Group meeting, providing further opportunity for the Working Group to explain the referendum proposal and the post referendum process for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

The Voice

The Working Group discussed Voice principles and considered how to provide more context to the Australian public ahead of a referendum.

Next steps

Further advice on the constitutional amendment will be provided by the Working Group before the end of February 2023.

The Working Group agreed to meet with Greens and Senate crossbench.



We acknowledge the Traditional Owners and custodians of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to the people, the cultures and the Elders past, present and emerging.