The Australia Institute welcomes the modernising of Australia’s referendum machinery ahead of the referendum to enshrine an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice in the Australian Constitution.
To limit the impact of misinformation on the referendum debate, we recommend that the Parliament legislate truth in political advertising laws and stronger political contribution disclosures.
The existing pamphlet system is flawed, but universally-distributed printed material still has a role to play in Australians’ decision making. Rather than abolishing the pamphlet, the Parliament could require it to be drafted by independent experts to fairly present the case for each side.
Further reforms should be considered to prepare Australia for future referendums, either in this bill or in later legislation.