Labor Missing Information on Referendum
9 January 2023
Labor continue to avoid providing information on how the constitutional referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament would be conducted.
Labor’s Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Amendment Bill 2022 sets new precedents for how Australians will vote to change our national document, and could be used in future referenda.
Today, Department of Finance officials again failed to have answers to questions on why they have decided not to provide official information in the form of a pamphlet to Australians on their choice at the referendum.
The Department of Finance couldn’t answer questions relating to why Labor has chosen not to create an official ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaign, which would allow for effective regulation of donations and foreign influence.
Labor continues to duck the questions on the referendum process, continuing to raise concerns by the Coalition that the lack of detail will set the referendum up to fail.
Shadow Finance Minister, Senator the Hon Jane Hume said the lack of detail provided by officials was hard to understand.
“Labor has presented legislation that will change the way we conduct referenda in Australia. How we change our constitution is as important as it gets and Australians deserve to know why these changes to past practice are necessary,” Senator Hume said.
“In an age of misinformation, Labor must explain why they would want to get rid of official information being provided to Australians. Labor must explain why it is better not to have an official ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaign, which would make the referendum easier to regulate against illegal donations and foreign interference.
“These aren’t small changes to process - they will set precedence for how we change our national document in the future, including if Australians vote on other questions,” Senator Hume said.
Departmental officials have said that these changes from past practice are matters for Government, but no one can explain why the Government has made them or who asked for the changes.
Labor must explain their changes to these processes or amend the Bill to ensure trust in the referendum process.