What was claimed
The upcoming Voice to Parliament referendum will include a second question on whether Australia should become a republic with the aim of ultimately reverting ownership of all land in Australia to the United Nations.
False. Australians will only be voting on one question: to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the First Peoples of Australian by enshrining a Voice to Parliament in the constitution. Also, the UN has never owned Australia and therefore the land cannot “revert” to it.
By Lulu Graham
A viral video falsely claims that the upcoming Voice referendum is a “con” designed to turn Australia into a republic.
It makes a number of unsubstantiated claims including that the Voice referendum will ask an extra question on whether Australia should become a republic, and that the United Nations will take all land in Australia once the nation is a republic.
The video originated on Rumble channel TimsTruth, which has 5,000 followers, and was posted under the headline ‘A Question of Trust’.
The channel’s owner, Tim Dwyer, claims in the video that “one of the questions in this referendum will be for a republic. Do you understand? You are being lied to and conned.”
He goes on to claim that the referendum is part of an elaborate conspiracy involving the United Nations. “[Albanese’s mob] want a republic,” he says “That’s what this is all about, because the United Nations has said, that as soon as Australia becomes a republic, all land ownership will revert to the United Nations.”
He adds: “You’ll own your house, you won’t own the land. I know you bought it, but you won’t own it. Oh no, not at all, because it will all go back to the UN.”
The post has been viewed on Facebook more than 25,000 times, and it has accumulated in excess of 1,000 shares and 1,000 reactions.
But the claims are false.
Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) spokesperson Evan Ekin-Smith told RMIT FactLab that on referendum day there will only be one question.
Mr Ekin-Smith said: “The referendum in 2023 will have a single question, a single box, and people will vote either ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to that one question.”
That question, which was formalised after being passed by both houses of Parliament on June 19, is: “A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Do you approve this proposed alteration?”
The proposed law that Australians are being asked to approve would alter the Constitution to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First Peoples of Australia and to create a permanent advisory body, to be known as the Voice. The Voice would not have legal powers to enforce its recommendations.
The word “republic” does not appear in any of these provisions, nor do they allow for the creation of a republic.
A date for the Voice referendum is yet to be determined, but it is expected to be held between October and December.
Mr Ekin-Smith added that if there was more than one question in the upcoming referendum, parliament would have had to pass more than one Constitution Alteration bill.
He confirmed that this is what occurred in 1999, with the passage of separate Establishment of Republic and Preamble bills. A two-question referendum was held on whether Australia should become a republic on November 6, 1999,. Neither of the questions received the majority of votes needed to carry it and the referendum failed.
Any new attempt to make Australia – which is a parliamentary monarchy – a republic would require another referendum. Parliament would need to pass another constitution alteration Bill, provided for by section 128 of the Australian Constitution.
The claim that Australia would “revert” to the UN if it ever were to become a republic is also false.There is no evidence that the UN has made such a statement and it has never owned Australia, so the land could not “revert” to it.
Australia has been involved in the United Nations since its formation after World War II, nearly 80 years ago in the hope of maintaining international peace and security and to forge greater cooperation among nations.
This is not the first time the UN has been wrongly associated with the Voice referendum. RMIT FactLab found a previous claim regarding the UN and the Voice referendum to be false.
AAP Fact Check has also checked this claim and found it to be false.
False. In the forthcoming referendum, Australians will be asked to vote on whether to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the First Peoples of Australia by enshrining a Voice to Parliament in the constitution. The Voice would advise on matters relating to Indigenous peoples. There will be no second question on the ballot asking whether Australia should become a republic. Finally, the UN has never owned Australia and, therefore, the land cannot “revert” to the UN.
Acknowledgement of Country
RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.