The Albanese government has proposed suspending the law requiring the government to fund the publication and distribution of an official pamphlet setting out the “Yes” and the “No” case for any referendum to change the Australian constitution. This means there would be no publicly funded information campaign to inform voters of the arguments for and against changing the Australian constitution to include an Indigenous-only Voice to Parliament.
The results of the public submissions in respect to the government’s proposed changes are overwhelming:
- There were 78 submissions.
- 64 expressed a clear opinion on the Yes/No pamphlet.
- 97%, or 62, of those submissions which expressed a clear opinion were in favour of a Yes/No pamphlet or some similar alternative.
- Only 3%, just two submissions, were against.
- Of these two, one was a government department (the Department of Finance), and one was a pro-Voice academic (Professor George Williams).
- Of all submissions (those which expressed a clear opinion and those which did not) 79% were in favour, 3% were opposed, and 18% were unclear.
Support for some kind of official Yes/No information pamphlet was supported across the political spectrum, with even the left-leaning Australia Institute and pro-Voice academic Professor Anne Twomey supporting an information pamphlet. Although they argue the method for preparing it should be changed, from the current process where it is prepared by members of parliament in favour of or against the referendum question, to one authored by an expert panel.
Read the full report.