PM defends voice referendum process

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has rejected suggestions the government might legislate for an Indigenous voice to parliament if a referendum on constitutional recognition is lost.

"If Australians say no, then there will be no constitutional change," he told radio 2GB Sydney on Wednesday.

Under the current timeline, the referendum is due to be held in the second half of this year.

The draft referendum question is: "Do you support an alteration to the Constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?"

If the referendum is successful, the federal parliament will debate legislation to set up a consultative body called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

Mr Albanese has said the voice would be able to make representations to parliament and the executive government on matters relating to Indigenous people.

But the government will not be bound by the representations of the "advisory body".

Asked if this could create a legal minefield and pave the way for a potential High Court case, Mr Albanese said: "That's not right - all the legal experts say that's not right."

"That will not be allowed and that's why you will have legislation before the parliament that will determine the nature of that detail," he said.

He said all that constitutional enshrinement would do is ensure there is a body, but not "characterise the detail of how that body should operate".

Former High Court judge Ian Callinan has argued there could be a "decade or more of constitutional and administrative law litigation" arising out of an Indigenous voice.

Mr Callinan says every state and territory is likely to have an interest in the interactions between the voice, the parliament and executive government.

"It is clear, should the Indigenous-only voice to parliament be inserted into our constitution, any disputes about its powers and actions will be determined by the High Court," the Institute of Public Affairs' Daniel Wild said on Wednesday.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said Mr Albanese was being "tricky" by not releasing further details of how the voice would function.

"Nobody wants to see the cause of reconciliation going backwards and if he presides over a model which is botched from the start, that's exactly what will happen," Mr Dutton told reporters in Brisbane.