“The Federal Government’s multi-million-dollar Voice to Parliament ‘awareness and education campaign’ is just another attempt to stack the deck for its favoured ‘yes’ campaign,” said Morgan Begg, Director of Research at the Institute of Public Affairs.
The recent enactment of the Financial Framework (Supplementary Powers) Amendment (Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Portfolio Measures No. 1) Regulations 2023 authorises the Federal Government to “fund public civics education and awareness programs, community initiatives and other activities to raise public awareness of, and community engagement” on the Voice to Parliament referendum.
“Australians simply cannot have confidence that the debate on the Voice to Parliament referendum, which seeks to entrench racial division in our constitution, will be free and fair,” said Mr Begg.
Under the regulation, the Federal Government is now authorised to spend $9.5 million to enhance the “impact and reach of the [Federal Government’s Voice to Parliament] website” and “paid media placements for the Voice information program to significantly expand reach across the broader community.”
“Whether it is funding the ‘yes’ campaign, turning a blind eye to big tech censorship, or allowing woke foreign corporations to influence debate through millions of dollars in campaign resources, the political class is doing everything in its power to ensure mainstream Australians don’t have an equal say in the debate,” said Mr Begg.
The regulation reinforces previous IPA analysis from December 2022 that identified the Federal Government’s Orwellian intention to fund “educational initiatives to counter misinformation” to censor and control the debate.
“The Albanese Government has developed a clear pattern of behaviour, silencing debate because they know Australians do not want to be divided by race,” said Mr Begg.
This follows the Federal Government’s attempt in December to cancel the production of the traditional referendum information pamphlet. The IPA was the first to call this out and force the government to overturn this policy, which would have prevented Australians from being able to access all the facts on the referendum.
“The continual stacking of the deck for the ‘yes’ campaign by Australia’s governing class and elites violates a foundational principle of the Australian way of life, that being, everybody gets to have their say, no matter what their view is,” said Mr Begg.