1967 Referendum

Image source: https://www.nla.gov.au/research-guides/the-1967-referendum

The 1967 referendum in Australia was an important event in the country’s 200-year history. It was a vote that allowed white Australians and other non-First Nations Australians to decide on two important changes related to the rights of First Nations people.

Before the referendum, the Australian Constitution, which is like the country’s rulebook, had some unfair rules. It didn’t treat First Nations people as equal citizens. They weren’t counted in the population, and the government didn’t have the power to make laws specifically for them.

In 1967, a vote was held to decide if these unfair rules should be changed. Australians were asked two questions:

  • Should Indigenous people be counted in the national census? This means including them in the official population count, just like everyone else.
  • Should the government be allowed to make laws for Indigenous people? This means giving the government the power to create laws that would benefit Indigenous people and treat them more fairly.

The result of the referendum was a big “Yes” to both questions. This meant that most Australians wanted these changes to happen. As a result, the Constitution was changed, and from then on, First Nations people were counted in the census, and the government could now create laws that aimed to improve their lives and treat them more fairly.


Image source: https://pih.org.uk/literature/mixed-race-matters/mixed-race-colourism/

Colourism is a term used to describe a kind of prejudice or discrimination based on the shade or colour of a person’s skin, especially within the same racial or ethnic group. It’s a bit like racism, but it happens within a particular group based on different skin tones.

For example, within a community where people share the same racial background, those with lighter skin tones might be favoured or treated better than those with darker skin tones. This can lead to unfair advantages, opportunities, or treatment for people with lighter skin, while those with darker skin might face disadvantages or biases.

Another example is that people who with lighter skin tones yet are from First Nations backgrounds may be seen to be pretending to be First Nations or not really First Nations people, compared to those with darker skin tones.


Image source: ABC https://youtu.be/CcXVtQMpqT4

Conservative is a word that describes people who like to keep things the way they are or the way they used to be. They don’t like to make big changes and prefer to stick with traditions and values that have been around for a long time. It’s like being very careful about trying new things and wanting to hold on to what is familiar. People who are conservative often believe in keeping things the same and not rushing into new ideas or ways of doing things.


Image source: https://peo.gov.au/understand-our-parliament/how-parliament-works/the-australian-constitution/australian-constitution/

A constitution is like a set of important rules for a country. It’s like the big rulebook that explains how the country works and what its government can and cannot do. The constitution usually talks about things like the rights that people have, how leaders are chosen, and what laws the government can make. It’s a special document that should help keep everything fair and organized in the country.


Image source: https://fpdn.org.au/talkup/disability-discrimination/

Discrimination is when people treat others unfairly or differently because of things like their skin color, where they’re from, or how they look. It’s not right to judge someone or be mean to them only because they’re different. Discrimination is like treating people badly just because they’re not the same as you.


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Disinformation is where false material is spread, knowing that the information is not true. Different to misinformation (see definition of misinformation).


Image source: https://www.yourdictionary.com/articles/misinformation-disinformation-compare

Misinformation is different to disinformation – misinformation refers to information spread innocently in the belief that it is true.


Image source: https://www.vu.edu.au/about-vu/news-events/news/what-is-reverse-racism-and-whats-wrong-with-the-term

Racism means treating someone unfairly or badly because of their race or the color of their skin. It’s when people judge or mistreat others based on where they come from or how they look, even though everyone should be treated with kindness and respect no matter what they look like or where they’re from. Racism is a hurtful behavior that can make people feel sad, angry, or left out. It’s important to stand up against racism and treat everyone equally.


Image source: https://www.aec.gov.au/referendums/

A referendum is when a lot of people are asked to vote on an important decision or question. It’s like a big vote where everyone gets to say what they think about a specific issue. The decision could be about making a new law, changing an existing rule, or deciding on something significant for the country. People usually vote “yes” if they agree with the change and “no” if they don’t want it. The side with the most votes win, and that’s how important choices are made in a fair and democratic way.

Political correctness

Image source: https://www.populismstudies.org/Vocabulary/political-correctness/

Political correctness means using words and behaving in ways that are sensitive and considerate toward other people’s feelings. It’s about trying not to hurt or offend anyone by using words that might be mean or disrespectful. People use political correctness to show that they care about others and want to be kind. It’s like choosing words that won’t make anyone feel bad or left out.


Image source: ABC https://youtu.be/CcXVtQMpqT4

Progressive is a word that describes people who like to try new ideas and make changes to improve things. They believe in moving forward and finding better ways of doing things. Progressives are open to new ways of thinking and are often interested in making society fairer and more equal. They want to make progress by making positive changes in areas like laws, technology, and social issues. It’s like wanting to move ahead and make things better for everyone.

Scare Campaign

Image source: https://www.crikey.com.au/2022/04/28/election-scare-campaigns/

A scare campaign is when people try to make others feel very afraid or worried about something on purpose. They might use strong words or pictures to make something seem scarier than it really is. The goal is to make people feel scared, so they’ll believe a certain idea or do something a certain way. It’s like trying to make a problem seem bigger or scarier than it is, so people react in a certain way because of their fear.

The Voice

Image source: https://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/first-nations-voice-to-parliament-referendum

The Voice is a way for First Nations Australians to share their ideas and opinions with the government. The Voice helps these people have a say in decisions that affect them and their communities. It’s like a way for their voices to be heard and considered when important choices are being made about them.


Image source: https://nativeamericannetroots.net/diary/1592

A treaty is like a special agreement or contract between different groups or countries. It’s a way for them to talk and decide on important things they want to do together.


Image source: https://greens.org.au/platform/first-nations

Truth in this context means honestly sharing and talking about things that have happened, especially when they might be difficult or painful. It’s like telling the real story, even if it’s not easy to talk about. Truth helps people understand the past better and can lead to healing and making things right. It’s about being open and honest so that everyone can learn from what has happened.

Uluru Statement

Image source: https://www.smh.com.au/national/what-is-the-uluru-statement-from-the-heart-20190523-p51qlj.html

The Uluru Heart Statement is a message from a special group of First Nations people in Australia. They gathered at Uluru, a sacred place, to talk about their feelings and hopes. In the statement, they asked the Australian government to listen to them and make things better for Indigenous people. They want a First Nations Voice in the country’s laws to help make sure their voices are heard and their rights are protected.

White Australia Policy

Image source: https://www.britannica.com/event/White-Australia-Policy

The White Australia Policy was a rule in the past that said only people with white skin could come and live in Australia. It meant that people from other parts of the world, who had different skin colors or backgrounds, couldn’t move to Australia easily. It does not officially exist now, however racism is still a strong part of Australia. It’s important to treat everyone with kindness and fairness, no matter where they’re from or what they look like.


Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woke

Woke is a word that people use to talk about being aware and caring about social issues. When someone is “woke,” it means they understand and care about things like fairness, equality, and treating everyone well. They pay attention to problems like racism, discrimination, and other important matters that affect people’s lives. Being “woke” is about wanting the world to be better and treating everyone with kindness and respect.

It can also be a negative word used to show that ‘I don’t like what you’re saying – what you think and say is rubbish.’

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