According to section 128 of the Constitution, a proposed change to the Constitution must first be approved as a bill by the Australian Parliament. It must then be put to Australian voters in a referendum.
A referendum is a national ballot on a question to change the Constitution. To be successful, the proposed change must be agreed:
- by the majority of people across the nation
- by the majority of people in a majority of states.
This is called a double majority.
Introducing the bill, Senator Patrick told the Senate that the alteration would 'give constitutional recognition and expression to the "open, free and democratic" character of Australian society.'
Senator Patrick also introduced the Constitution Alteration (Water Resources) 2019 that would give the federal Parliament the power to make laws for the management of water resources that extend beyond the boundaries of a single state.