This is false. The 1999 referendum sought to alter the Australian Constitution to allow the establishment of a republic, replacing the British monarch as head of state, and to add a preamble “honouring” Indigenous people as the “nation’s first people”.
Experts told AAP FactCheck neither of the proposed alterations to the constitution involved a voice to parliament.
The concept of an Indigenous voice was not formed until almost two decades later in May 2017, through the Uluru Statement From The Heart.
“Did you know that the ‘Voice to parliament’ failed in the 1999 referendum,” it states.
The proposed preamble wording (page 32) included “honouring Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, the nation’s first people, for their deep kinship with their lands and for their ancient and continuing cultures which enrich the life of our country”.
John Warhurst, a political science professor at ANU agreed, labelled the claim “clearly false”.
“The two 1999 referendums were about the republic and the preamble,” Emeritus Professor Warhurst said. “It is absolutely clear.”
“The voice to parliament was not put to the people in the 1999 referendum,” Professor McKenna told AAP FactCheck.
“The idea of the voice to parliament did not exist at the time, and did not emerge until 2017.
“The proposed preamble did not recommend or include an Indigenous voice to parliament.”
“Nothing even remotely similar to the First Nations voice to parliament has ever been taken to a referendum,” Dr Jones told AAP FactCheck.
“If (the 1999 preamble question) passed, there would have been symbolic recognition of First Nations in the constitution.
“This is a completely different proposal to the voice which would create a First Nation body to offer advice to the executive government on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
The claim the Indigenous voice was rejected at the 1999 referendum is false.
History and political experts told AAP FactCheck the referendum made no mention of a voice to parliament, which did not emerge until 2017 through the Uluru Statement From The Heart.
The referendum in 1999 asked two questions on whether to become a republic and include a preamble to the constitution honouring Indigenous people.
False – The claim is inaccurate.