19 July, 2023
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has now published the Referendum Yes and No case essays on its website.
The purpose of the case essays is for each side of the debate to present its case and inform the Australian public.
A hard copy of both case essays and the AEC’s official guide to participating in the 2023 Referendum will also be distributed to each Australian household in the weeks leading up to the vote.
The AEC’S role is to distribute the information, and it is important to note that the essays themselves have not been fact checked.
What this means is that both sides of the debate may write whatever they wish to further their argument and agenda, and make blanket statements about the impact on First Nations people, as well as possible changes to laws and rights.
NSWALC has created a factsheet on the misinformation, which is available here and also on this page.
Important to note
The upcoming Referendum is to amend the Australian Constitution to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First People of this country. Constitutional recognition is something that NSWALC has long advocated for as an important step to a better future for our people.
The Voice will be established if the Referendum is successful. The community will determine who the Voice members will be, and Voice representatives will provide consultation and advice to Government about policies, laws and practices that directly impact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
The Voice will be gender-balanced and include youth representatives, which will allow the body to utilise the knowledge and experience of Elders and the views of younger Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
To use an analogy, Australia will only be voting to build a bridge at the Referendum. If the vote is successful, there will be a consultation process to determine what the bridge will look like – if it has four or six lanes for example, and what material will be used.
Australian Electoral Commission Yes/No Case Pamphlet
The Yes and No cases were prepared by parliamentarians and supplied to the AEC by the respective parliamentary committees.
The AEC will use both cases to prepare a pamphlet containing the case in favour of the proposed Constitutional alteration, the case against the proposed Constitutional alteration, and a statement containing the proposed change to the Constitution.
You can find both cases and additional referendum information on the AEC website, at the link below.