When the colonies amalgamated as a unified Commonwealth at Federation (1901), Indigenous affairs were seen as irrelevant. Aboriginal people were seen as a commodity to be maintained at the discretion of the State’s governance and as a result, Aboriginal rights were excluded from the most important colonial policy, the Constitution. Indigenous people were regarded and treated as ‘non- citizens’ and Indigenous communities were ostracized, considered a subservient, ‘inferior race’, and it was regarded as appropriate to manage their affairs at a federal level. Indigenous culture was heavily impacted as there was no process implemented to include Aboriginal people in ‘legal and political structures’ or as a part of the nation, but instead, it established a centralised, ingrained discourse that influenced discrimination and exclusion.
Indigenous activists campaigned tirelessly to create a referendum to change the Constitution. One of those activists was Faith Bandler, and along with Pearl Gibbs, they co-founded the Australian-Aboriginal Fellowship (AAF). The main objective of this organisation was to generate an amicable relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities in New South Wales. Educating the broader community about the matters concerning Indigenous populations was paramount for understanding issues relating to policies of assimilation and human rights. The AAF convened for the first time in 1957 and received a considerable crowd of non- Aboriginal citizens, which indicated the existing support of Indigenous people within white society. The organization petitioned for many issues, but one of the most important was to change the Constitution in regards to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. This petition, established by Jessie Street, a white feminist activist, along with Bandler and Gibbs, effectively enabled the success of the 1967 Referendum.
The following two statements were examined and a vote was to be held to decide if these ‘points’ should be removed from Australia’s Constitution.
51. The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to:- ..(xxvi) The people of any race, other than the aboriginal people in any State, for whom it is necessary to make special laws.
127. In reckoning the numbers of the people of the Commonwealth, or of a State or other part of the Commonwealth, aboriginal natives should not be counted. 
On the 27 May 1967, the public was asked if they approved of changes to the Constitution to remove particular words relating to the Indigenous population and if they agreed “that Aboriginals are to be counted in the reckoning population?” Changing the language and removing discriminatory laws, was seen as a positive step in creating equal rights for Indigenous Australians. Approximately 5.1 million Australians voted YES.
 M. Dodson. & L. Strelein. ‘Australia’s Nation – Building: Renegotiating the Relationship between Indigenous Peoples and the State’. UNSW Law Journal. vol. 24, no. 3. (2001). pp. 829-30.
 Gary Foley. A Short History of Australian Resistance 1950-1990. p. 2.
 Gary Foley. p. 3.