Bills Digest No.
PDF version [459KB]
Dr Damon Muller
Politics and Public Administration Section
- The Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Amendment Bill 2022 (the Bill) would suspend the provisions in the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 (the Referendum Act) that require the production and distribution of a Yes and No case against a proposed constitutional change and impose restrictions on the Government otherwise spending money on a referendum campaign.
- The Bill would regulate donations and expenditure for referendum campaigns and impose reporting obligations. It would also ban foreign donations of $100 or more from being used for referendum campaigns and ban foreign campaigners authorising referendum material.
- The Bill would update the Referendum Act to generally bring it into line with updates to the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 that have been legislated in recent years.
The Bills Digest at a glance
Purpose of the Bill
Structure of the Bill
Policy position of non-government
Position of major interest groups
Statement of Compatibility with Human
Key issues and provisions
Date introduced: 1
House: House of
day of Royal Assent.
Links: The links to the Bill,
its Explanatory Memorandum and second reading speech can
be found on the Bill’s home page, or through the Australian
When Bills have been passed and have received Royal Assent,
they become Acts, which can be found at the Federal Register of Legislation
All hyperlinks in this Bills Digest are correct as
at December 2022.
The Bills Digest at a glance
(Machinery Provisions) Amendment Bill 2022 (the Bill) aims to modernise the
(Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 (the Referendum Act) in the
expectation of a constitutional referendum on an Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander Voice to Parliament, which is expected to be conducted in the 2023
The Bill would implement three major changes to the
practice of constitutional referendums in Australia, in addition to a number of
minor changes. The minor changes largely bring the rules and procedures in the Referendum
Act on the conduct of referendums into line with changes that have been
made to the Commonwealth
Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act) over recent years. These
minor changes are likely to be relatively uncontroversial, having been in
effect for one or more federal elections (an example is aligning the early
voting period for a referendum with the 12 day early voting period for federal
elections legislated in 2021).
The first of the major changes, and the topic of the most
commentary so far, is that the Bill would suspend the operation of the
provisions of the Referendum Act that require the preparation and
distribution of a pamphlet with Yes and No cases to the referendum question,
and otherwise restrict the Government from spending money on referendum
campaigns. The Government has stated that it will not fund the campaigns for or
against the change, but that it will run a public education campaign in
relation to the referendum. Constitutional experts tend to view the
requirements for the Yes and No cases to be something of a failed experiment,
however the Opposition has indicated its objection to the removal of these
provisions. The fact that the Government has not detailed its plans for the
campaign and would have no legislative restrictions on its spending (other than
appropriation) is likely to be the source of some debate.
The second of the major changes is to the authorisation
provisions for referendum material. Most of the substance of this part of the
Bill proposes to bring these provisions in line with the equivalent provisions
in the Electoral Act. A significant effect of these changes, however,
will be to effectively ban foreign campaigners from campaigning for or against
the referendum. Contravention of this restriction can lead to a maximum civil
penalty of 120 penalty units.
The third major change is the implementation of a scheme
to regulate and report donations and expenditure in relation to referendum
campaigns. While the Referendum Act closely mirrors the Electoral Act,
the Referendum Act does not currently contain political finance
provisions. The Bill proposes to implement a system very similar to the
donation and disclosure regime for federal elections, including the restriction
on donations by foreign donors and spending by foreign campaigners. The
provisions would require donors who have donated an amount above the disclosure
threshold, and referendum campaigners who receive donations and incur
referendum expenditure, to provide a report to the Australian Electoral Commission
(AEC) on donations and expenditure within 15 weeks after the referendum date,
to be published by the AEC 24 weeks after the referendum.
The provision that seeks to suspend the Yes and No case
distribution and restrictions on Government spending has already proved to be somewhat
divisive, however, the remainder of the provisions of the Bill are quite
conservative, and generally only replicate (or adapt) processes and schemes
which are already well tested and understood in the context of federal elections
and the Electoral Act.
The purpose of the Bill is to amend the Referendum
(Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 (the Referendum Act) to suspend
the provisions of the Act that require the production and distribution of a Yes
and No case and otherwise restrict government expenditure in relation to
referendum campaigning; to impose a donation and campaign expenditure reporting
regime on referendum campaigning, including banning foreign donations of $100
or more; to restrict foreign campaigning in relation to a referendum; and to
otherwise bring the Referendum Act into line with recent changes to the Commonwealth
Electoral Act 1918 (the Electoral Act). The Bill also provides
for certain consequential amendments to the Electoral Act.
of the Bill
The Bill contains eight Schedules. The Schedules are
arranged thematically, with each Schedule containing a set of amendments to
either the Referendum Act or the Electoral Act that relate to a
specific aspect of the operation of referendums. Schedules 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6
primarily bring across changes relating to the process of carrying out an
electoral event which have been made in recent years to the Electoral Act
but not to the Referendum Act. Schedule 3 expands the
authorisation provisions for referendum material and Schedule 4
implements a referendum financial disclosure scheme, both of which largely
reflect the approaches taken in the Electoral Act. Schedules 7 and 8
contain a number of language and legislative drafting modernisations to the Referendum
Over the last decade there have been several
proposals for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander people. At the First Nations National Constitutional Convention in May
2017, the Uluru
Statement from the Heart called for ‘… constitutional reforms to empower
our people and take a rightful place in our own country’. In the lead up to the
2022 federal election, the Australian Labor Party committed
to implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full. In July 2022, Prime
Minister Anthony Albanese attended and spoke at the Garma
Festival where he reaffirmed the election commitment and floated wording
for a referendum question on an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to
On the first
day of the 47th Parliament, the Prime Minister said he will be ‘embracing
the Statement from the Heart at Uluru’. In his speech
on the Closing the Gap annual report 2022 on 30 November 2022 the
Prime Minister said ‘I re‑dedicate our government to the implementation
of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, in full, including a constitutionally
enshrined voice to parliament’ and gave an indication of the timeline, ‘[t]here
is an opportunity in the second half of next year to do better’. This timeline
is consistent with a statement the Prime Minister made in September 2022 that
the referendum will be held between July
2023 and June 2024.
In recent decades Australian governments have been
relatively reluctant to submit a proposal to alter the Constitution to
the Australian people, possibly because the Australian people have been
particularly reluctant to approve such changes. Since Federation 44 questions
for altering the Constitution have been put to the people, and only 8
have been approved.
The last constitutional referendum was in 1999 and included questions on a
republic and a preamble to the Constitution, both of which failed to be
carried by a majority of voters or voters in a majority of states, with
majorities of both required to alter the Constitution. The most recent
successful referendum was in 1977.
This lack of success at constitutional referendums has
resulted in a body of commentary about constitutional alteration and
referendums in Australia, which will not be examined in any detail here. It has
also led to parliamentary inquiries that have made specific recommendations
about the conduct of referendums.
The most recent such inquiry resulted in the December 2021
report of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and
Legal Affairs Inquiry
into Constitutional Reform and Referendums.
A focus of the Committee’s report that is relevant for this Bills Digest was on
the distribution of material outlining the Yes and No cases and the rules on
expenditure for a referendum campaign.
In relation to expenditure on referendum campaigns, the
[S]ection 11(4) of the Referendum Act limits the Government
from spending money ‘in respect of the presentation of the argument in favour
of, or the argument against, a proposed law’ to amend the Constitution, except
in relation to certain activities. These include the preparation and
distribution of the yes/no pamphlet and the provision by the [Australian
Electoral Commission] AEC of other information about the proposed amendment and
Following the 1988 decision of the High Court in Reith v
Morling, the limitation contained in section 11(4) is understood to be
quite broad. The operation of section 11(4) was subsequently suspended for the
1999 referendum to allow for public education and the funding of the yes and no
campaigns, and again for the proposed 2013 referendum on the recognition of
local government, which ultimately did not proceed.
The Committee noted that there were no requirements in
relation to private spending or donations and campaign transparency for
referendums. It cited the Electoral Commissioner’s statement that he could not
understand the reason for the discrepancy between the transparency requirements
for referendums and elections.
In relation to the Referendum Act, the Committee
From evidence to the inquiry, it is clear to the Committee
that certain provisions in the Referendum Act are outdated and not suitable for
a referendum in contemporary Australia. This conclusion is consistent with the
findings of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and
Constitutional Affairs in 2009, indicating that these are longstanding issues
which have gone unresolved by successive governments.
The Committee recommended that section 11 of the Referendum
Act be amended to allow the Electoral Commissioner to distribute the Yes
and No cases through other means in addition to the existing provision of a
paper pamphlet distributed through the mail (Recommendation 6), that subsection
11(4) be amended to allow the Government to fund referendum education campaigns
and campaigns promoting the Yes and No cases (Recommendation 7), and that a
political finance scheme consistent with Part XX of the Electoral Act be
implemented for referendums (Recommendation 8).
Additionally, the Committee recommended:
that the Australian Government ensure that the Referendum
(Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 and the referendum process more generally
is modernised well in advance of any referendum on the question of
constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians, which is expected to
occur in the next term of Parliament, or any other future referendum.
Notably, the Committee did not recommend changing the
requirements around the Yes and No cases, instead taking the position that that
the Yes and No pamphlet held a central role in the referendum process and that
it should be sent to all electors, not just each household, although not
necessarily exclusively through the postal system.
Labor members of the majority Coalition Committee made some additional comments
to the report but did not dissent from the Committee’s general support for a
Yes and No case to be made, and for it to be distributed by more modern means.
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal
and Constitutional Affairs inquiry into the machinery of referendums reported
in December 2009. The Committee was chaired by Mark Dreyfus, the current
Attorney-General. The report heavily focused on the ‘Yes/No pamphlet’, noting
that this approach was first introduced in 1912 following the defeat of two
referendum proposals in 1911, and had been largely unchanged in the subsequent century.
The Committee generally concluded that the Yes/No pamphlet was a valuable
document but not sufficient education for all electors and argued for
additional flexibility in communication and the removal of the restriction on
Government communication spending.
The Committee report noted that there have only been three
referendums (1919, 1926 and 1928) where Yes/No pamphlets were not distributed. In
each case this was due to legislative requirements. For 1919 the referendum was
held on the same day as a general election and legislation had been passed which
stated that the requirement to distribute a Yes/No pamphlet would not apply if
a referendum was held with the 1919 election. In 1926 and 1928 legislation was
passed to suspend the provisions of the then relevant Referendum Acts that
required the distribution of the Yes/No cases for those referendums.
In relation to Government expenditure for a referendum,
the Committee noted that the reason for the prohibition on Government spending
in the Referendum Act was due to a 1983 proposal that the Government
spend $5 million for the Yes/No pamphlet for a referendum and an additional
$1.25 million to promote the Yes case alone.
The report also noted that a decision of the High Court in
Reith v Morling suggested that the prohibition on Government expenditure
under subsection 11(4) is quite broad.
Specifically, the Attorney-General’s Department had legal advice that many
types of educational material could come within the scope of the prohibition,
particularly if the educational material included any argument for or against
the proposed law.
The Committee was generally in favour of retaining the
Yes/No arguments, but recommended removing the 2,000-word limit on the
The Yes/No arguments are an important means for
parliamentarians to explain to electors why they support or do not support the
proposal for constitutional change. The oppositional nature of the Yes/No
arguments also helps stimulate public debate and discussion. Further, they are
appropriately directed to a (sic) providing a yes/no answer—which is what will
be required of the elector on the day of referendum.
The Committee considers that there may be insufficient or
inadequate information for many electors where Yes/No pamphlets are the only
official material available to electors. However, in conjunction with other
contextual material and education campaigns, the preparation of clear and
concise Yes/No arguments are an important element of the referendum process and
should be retained.
The Committee further stated that it believed that
Parliamentarians should continue to be responsible for authorising the cases. It
noted that it believed that a Yes/No case should always be prepared, and that
if a constitutional alteration Bill was passed unanimously all members of
Parliament should be responsible for authorising both a Yes and No case:
The Committee notes that members of Parliament are elected
representatives and are responsible and accountable to the Australian people.
It is arguably the Parliament’s responsibility to put the case to voters
because it is the Parliament which is responsible for the amendment proposal.
The Committee considers it important and appropriate that members of Parliament
retain responsibility for authorising the official Yes/No arguments and
supports the retention of this requirement.
The Committee recommended that the restriction on Government
spending be repealed (Recommendation 11) and presented the view that the total
amount of spending should be a decision for the Government of the day:
The Committee recommends the Australian Government introduce
amendments to remove the current limitation on spending imposed by section
11(4) of the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 (Cth) and to
include provisions to ensure that spending is directed to referendum education
and to equal promotion of the Yes/No arguments.
Finally, the Committee recommended that the Electoral
Act and the Referendum Act be combined, with the referendum
provisions incorporated into the Electoral Act.
In summary, the two most recent parliamentary reports into
the Referendum Act have recommended that the restrictions on government
funding should be repealed, leaving the decisions to the government of the day,
and that the distribution of Yes/No cases should be retained, although with
additional means of distributing them. Essentially none of the recommendations
of the various committees over the years in relation to reforming the Referendum
Act or the process of referendums have been implemented by subsequent
Standing Committee on Electoral Matters
The Bill has been referred to the Joint Standing Committee
on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) for inquiry and report by 10 February 2023.
Details of the inquiry are at the inquiry
Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills
At the time of publication the Bill had not been
considered by the Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills.
position of non-government parties/independents
The Shadow Attorney-General and Shadow Special Minister of
State released a statement on 1 December 2022 opposing the proposed removal of
the requirement for a Yes and No case. The statement noted that:
Labor’s removal of these protections for public debate puts
at risk a successful referendum and the ability for Australians to consider the
arguments in full.
The Shadow Ministers stated that not publishing an
official case risked fuelling misinformation. While the statement did not
nominate any other specific issues with the Bill, it noted that the Coalition
welcomed the referral of the Bill to the JSCEM.
The Greens and other non-Government members of the
Parliament have not commented publicly on the Bill at the time of publication
of this Digest.
major interest groups
The last Australian constitutional referendum was held 23
years ago, on 6 November 1999, so it is likely that most Australians have
little understanding of the nuances of the Referendum Act, and as such
not surprising that the Bill has received little attention so far (this Bills
Digest will not consider positions in relation to the referendum itself, only
Three prominent legal academics with an interest in
constitutional law have published their views on the Bill. The suspension of
the provisions to provide a Yes and No case have been cautiously welcomed by
the experts. Professor Anne Twomey stated that the ‘the Yes/No case has long
been recognised as a failed experiment’.
Professor George Williams noted that the Yes/No pamphlet:
failed repeatedly to live up to its promise and has not met
the aspirations of parliament by enabling Australians to cast an informed vote.
The best that can be said of the pamphlet is that the 2000-word statements are
so unappealing that few people ever read them.
Dr Paul Kildea stated that ‘the pamphlet has never lived
up to its promise as an educative tool’, but that ‘rather than ditching the
pamphlet, the parliament should reform it.’
All three recognise that the Yes/No case pamphlets are not an effective way of
making a case to the voters, but that educating voters in some way is still
In relation to funding the campaigns, Dr Kildea noted that
the funding of the campaigns using public money in 1999 was a one-off, and that
not publicly funding referendum campaigns was the norm in Australian history. Both
Professors Williams and Twomey note that, while the Government has said it will
fund an education campaign, it will need to be very careful to ensure that it
is not seen as partisan.
Dr Kildea was the only one of the three who provided
substantial views on the financial disclosure provisions of the Bill. He noted
that the regulation of referendum donations and spending is well overdue, but
that in replicating the political finance provisions of the Electoral Act
the Bill also adopts some of the problems with the electoral finance regime,
such as a high disclosure threshold and not requiring real-time disclosure.
While the legislation has generally otherwise not gained
significant media coverage, a small number of articles have drawn a link
between the decision not to fund the campaigns and the Government proposing to make
Australians for Indigenous Constitutional Recognition a deductible gift
recipient (DGR), allowing for donations to be tax deductible, but not an
equivalent opposition group.
The Explanatory Memorandum states that the Bill will have
no financial impact.
The financial disclosure obligations imposed by the Bill will, however, have a
financial impact on the AEC as the AEC will be required to process and report
on some amount of additional out-of-cycle financial disclosures. Financial
disclosure returns are required to be provided to the AEC by referendum
entities (a person or entity that incurs referendum expenditure above the
disclosure threshold between six months before the issue of the writ and the
day of the referendum) and donors 15 weeks after voting day (proposed paragraph
109E(4)(a) and proposed subsection 109G(2) of the Referendum Act
respectively, at Item 3 of Schedule 4 to the Bill), and must be
published before the end of 24 weeks after the referendum by the AEC (Schedule
4, Item 7).
The AEC and other agencies in the Electoral
Integrity Assurance Taskforce would also be expected to incur some
additional spending in relation to the provisions that aim to protect the
referendum from foreign interference. As neither the AEC nor any of its partner
agencies have ever commenced enforcement actions in relation to the existing
foreign interference provisions of the Electoral Act it may be difficult
to anticipate what actions in this regard might cost.
Depending on the timing of the next referendum, most of
the additional cost to the AEC will come in a future Budget cycle. It is also
possible that this extra work is already accommodated for in the additional appropriations
for the AEC and other agencies in the October 2022–23 federal budget of $52.6
million over two years to ‘commence preparations and support work to deliver
Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights
As required under Part 3 of the Human Rights
(Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 (Cth), the Government has assessed the
Bill’s compatibility with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared
in the international instruments listed in section 3 of that Act. The
Government considers that the Bill is compatible.
Joint Committee on Human Rights
At the time of publication, the Bill had not been
considered by the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights.
Most of the provisions in the Bill are concerned with
bringing the Referendum Act up to parity with the Electoral Act
or otherwise modernising the language of the Referendum Act. Generally, they
are not particularly worthy of discussion beyond what is provided by the
Explanatory Memorandum, however, they are outlined briefly in the Other
Provisions section of this Bills Digest.
Three groups of provisions do, however, propose
significant changes to the operation of referendums in Australia, and will be
discussed in this section. The first is the suspension of the provisions of the
Referendum Act that require the preparation and distribution of a Yes
and No case to the proposed constitutional change, as provided for in Clause
4, and the others are the provisions for referendum financial disclosure in
Schedule 4 and authorisations of referendum material in Schedule 3.
the operation of the Yes and No case provisions
Clause 4 of the Bill would suspend section 11 of
the Referendum Act between the day the Bill receives Royal Assent and
the polling day of the next general election of members of the House of
Section 11 of the Act relates to the distribution of the
arguments for and against the proposed law to electors (that is, the amendment
to the Constitution). Generally, it:
the Electoral Commissioner to distribute an argument in favour of the proposed
law of not more than 2,000 words and an argument against the proposed law of
not more than 2,000 words, authorised by a majority of the members of
Parliament who voted each way, to each household where there is an enrolled
elector (subsections 11(1) through (3)) and
the Commonwealth from expending any money in respect of the presentation of an
argument for or against the proposed law other than on the preparation and
distribution of the pamphlet with the for and against cases (subsection 11(4)).
At the time of the previous constitutional referendum in
1999 the then Government legislated the Referendum Legislation
Amendment Act 1999 (the 1999 Act), which made some minor changes
to the Referendum Act, and also suspended the operation of subsection 11(4).
Specifically, the 1999 Act permitted Government expenditure in relation
to the 1999 referendum questions.
In the second reading speech to the 1999 Act the Attorney-General
The Constitutional Convention met in February 1998 to
consider whether Australia should become a republic, which republic model
should be put to voters to consider against the present system of government,
and in what time frame any change might take place. … The convention also
recommended that, prior to the referendum being put to the people, the
government undertake a public education program directed to the constitutional
and other issues relevant to the referendum on the republic.
The government has confirmed that it will put the
convention's preferred model to a referendum in 1999 and that it will support
public information activities in relation to the referendum. The government has
made it clear that the republic question is one for the Australian people to
decide. In order to make an informed decision, the Australian people must have
access to relevant information about our system of government and the proposal
for change. The government believes that public funding should be made
available to support a vigorous and engaging public presentation of the
arguments for and against change.
He went on to state that the Government would make
available $15 million, half to each of the two campaign committees to plan and
manage their own campaigns. In explaining the need to modify subsection 11(4)
of the Referendum Act, the Attorney-General stated:
Subsection (4) was inserted in what became section 11 of the
referendum act by means of an amendment in the Senate at the time of the
passage of the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Bill. The subsection arose out
of a concern at the time to establish a statutory prohibition against the
government of the day funding partisan involvement in campaigns surrounding a
referendum proposal. Specifically, the concern was that a government might
support one case only.
Clause 4 of the bill is not an attempt on the part of the
government to tip the balance in favour of either side of the debate on the
Clause 4 is intended to ensure simply that Commonwealth
expenditure on the government's three-phase program of public information
activities for the 1999 referendum does not result in a technical breach of
subsection 11(4) of the referendum act.
The government's intention is to give the Australian people
who will be required to vote on a republic the best chance possible to
understand the issues at stake and the arguments for and against change.
The Attorney-General's Department has indicated that
subsection 11(4) of the referendum act, as it stands, may prevent public
funding for the campaign phase of the information activities. The department
has also said that the subsection arguably prevents Commonwealth expenditure on
educational material which may be said to include any argument for or against the
proposed law. Many kinds of educational material could conceivably come within
the scope of such a prohibition. The class of educational material that may be
regarded—in one sense or another—as an argument for or against change is
potentially too broad.
Clause 4 of the bill would facilitate expenditure by the
Commonwealth on public information activities by temporarily overriding the
operation of subsection 11(4) of the referendum act.
While the proposed 2013 referendum on the recognition of
local government in the Constitution did not proceed, the then
Government again chose to suspend the restrictions on government spending in
relation to a referendum campaign. The Government legislated the Referendum
(Machinery Provisions) Amendment Act 2013, which provided that (in
Subsection 11(4) of the Referendum (Machinery Provisions)
Act 1984 does not prevent expenditure by the Commonwealth in respect of
things done (whether or not by the Commonwealth) during the period:
(a) beginning on the day this section
(b) ending on polling day for the general election of the members of the House
of Representatives in 2013.
In introducing that Bill, the then Attorney-General Mark
Dreyfus noted in his second
reading speech the established precedent (from 1999) of suspending the
restrictions on Government spending for a referendum:
The bill also implements recommendation 11 of the [House of
Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs 2009] report,
which was to lift the current limitation on spending imposed under section 11
of the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act. As many submitters to the A
time for change report pointed out:
… the restriction on Commonwealth expenditure is a barrier to
the development of better and more effective referendum process.
I would adopt the comments made by the member for Mackellar a
moment ago about the need to ensure that electors are as informed as possible.
That is what the lifting of this current limitation on spending is directed to.
As the legal and constitutional affairs committee found in its recommendations:
It is apparent that referendums
require a flexible and adaptable approach … the Committee is of the view that
the funding level for referendum campaigns should be determined on a case-
by-case basis and that decision should be taken by the Australian Government.
This bill lifts the limitation on government spending from
when this bill commences until polling day for the 2013 general election.
Lifting the limitation on spending is a sensible amendment which was also
adopted in conjunction with the 1999 referendum—that is the last time that the Australian
people were asked to vote on a change to our Constitution. The form of this
provision in this bill to lift the limitation on spending is in exactly the
same form as that used by the Howard government in 1999. I commend the bill to
In the Minister’s
second reading speech for the current Bill the Minister was relatively
brief in relation to Clause 4, stating:
A decision to change our Constitution is a significant
national event, and it has been more than two decades since a change has been
proposed. It is therefore important that the government can fund civics
education in relation to the upcoming referendum on the Voice.
To that end, the bill will temporarily suspend expenditure
restrictions in section 11 of the referendum act to ensure the government can
provide Australians with factual information about the referendum.
This information will provide voters with a good understanding
of Australia's constitution, the referendum process, and factual information
about the referendum proposal.
The government has no intention of funding 'yes' and 'no'
When the pamphlet requirement was introduced in the early
20th century, it was an important way of ensuring that all voters were properly
informed about why their elected representatives supported or opposed a
As the next referendum will be the first in the digital age,
there is no need for taxpayers to pay for a pamphlet to be sent to households.
Modern technology allows parliamentarians to express their views to voters
directly and regularly through a wide range of sources, such as television,
email and social media, that did not exist when the pamphlet was introduced in
The Explanatory Memorandum does not go into much more
detail than this, noting that the requirement for a pamphlet is outdated and
that the suspension was consistent with the 1999 referendum. It also
references the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Social Policy and
Legal Affairs’ Inquiry into Constitutional Reform and Referendums,
discussed above in the Background section of this Bills Digest.
The Explanatory Memorandum notes that section 11 will only
be suspended (as opposed to being repealed) to ‘allow these restrictions to be
considered by future Parliaments for future referendums as appropriate’.
However, the fact that the subsection 11(4) spending restriction provisions
have been suspended for every completed and intended referendum for the past 23 years
suggests that the provisions no longer reflect the way Governments (both
Coalition and Labor) intend referendums to be prosecuted, and therefore it
might be appropriate for the provisions to be repealed and replaced.
Subsections 11(1) and 11(2) of the Referendum Act
are the only avenues for Parliament to be formally involved in publicly
advocating for or against a referendum question, through the production of the Yes
and No cases. Suspending this provision and removing this involvement in
authorising the Yes and No cases is likely to be the most controversial aspect
of this Bill. While there is likely to be agreement that a legislative
requirement to mail out relatively long essays to each household is now an
anachronism, it seems likely that some parliamentarians will not appreciate
being completely removed from the process. It also to some extent dilutes the
significance of voting against the constitution alteration Bill, as that will
no longer qualify a parliamentarian to be part of ‘team No’. As noted above, a
2009 parliamentary inquiry reported that there have only been three referendums
where a Yes and No pamphlet was not distributed: in 1919, 1926 and 1928. In all
three cases the then Government had legislated to suspend the provision that
provided for the preparation and distribution of the pamphlets.
The Government has not indicated exactly what form its
‘factual information about the referendum’ will take. In the October 2022–23
Budget the Government announced that it would allocate ‘$52.6 million over two
years from 2022–23 to the Australian Electoral Commission and other agencies to
commence preparations and support work to deliver the Referendum’.
In the subsequent Senate Estimates round there was some discussion with the AEC
about the preparations for a referendum and Indigenous enrolment (which
received its own amount of funding in the Budget), but not specifically around
the education campaign.
While the Government has committed not to fund a Yes or No
case, under the operation of clause 4 of the Bill there will be
effectively no legal limitations (beyond the requirement to appropriate the
money) on what advertising or campaigning the Government might do in relation
to the referendum. Again, this is likely to be a matter of some debate.
of referendum material
The authorisation of referendum matter is provided for by
Part IX of the Referendum Act. The Electoral and
Other Legislation Amendment Act 2017 provided considerably more
structure to the regulation of electoral advertising for federal elections. That
Act also inserted Part IX into the Referendum Act, largely mirroring the
authorisation amendments in the Electoral Act. Details and background to
the changes can be found in the Bills
Digest to the Electoral and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017.
The provisions of Schedule 3 essentially propose 3
changes to the Referendum Act:
a new, more detailed definition of ‘referendum matter’
foreign campaigners from authorising referendum matter and
authorisation requirements with more recent amendments to the Electoral Act.
Item 3 would repeal the definition of referendum
matter (‘matter intended or calculated to affect the results of a referendum’)
and item 2 would replace it with proposed section 3AA, which
defines referendum matter as matter communicated or intended to be communicated
for the dominant purpose of influencing voting at a referendum, as well as
setting out further exceptions and matters to be considered, discussed below. The
proposed new definition of referendum matter much more closely mirrors the
definition of electoral matter in section 4AA of the Electoral Act.
The current definition of electoral matter was inserted into the Electoral
Act by the Electoral
Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Act 2018.
Due to the similarity with the definition for electoral
matter these proposed changes will not be discussed in detail, other than to
note that there are some exceptions to a matter being classed as referendum
matter, such as it being the reporting of news, being for satirical, academic,
educative or artistic purpose, or if it was by or to a person who is a
Commonwealth public official (proposed subsection 3AA(6) of the Referendum
Act). Proposed subsection 3AA(5) also provides for ‘matters to be
taken into account’ when considering whether something is referendum matter,
such as the (temporal) proximity to a referendum, (physical) proximity to a
polling place, or whether the communication is intended to be public.
Essentially the same authorisation provisions have now
been in place for two federal general elections and the AEC has extensive
documentation on how it interprets these provisions of the Electoral Act.
The objects clause of Part IX (section 110B) of the Referendum
Act is proposed to be amended by item 6 of Schedule 3 to include
that one of the objects of the Part is ‘restricting the communication of
referendum matter authorised by foreign campaigners’. This is largely provided
for by item 12 which would insert proposed section 110CA. The
definition of foreign campaigner is inserted by item 1 of Schedule 4,
which proposes to amend subsection 3(1) to point to the definition of foreign
campaigner in the Electoral Act. Foreign campaigners are
defined in section 4 of the Electoral Act as ‘a person or entity
referred to in a paragraph of section 287AA’, which is the section that provides
the definition of a foreign donor. That is, the Electoral Act effectively
equates a foreign donor to a foreign campaigner, an
interpretation which is supported by the explanation of the foreign campaigner
provisions on the AEC’s
website. A foreign donor or foreign campaigner
is any of the following:
(a) a body politic of a foreign
(b) a body politic of a part of a
(c) a part of a body politic mentioned
in paragraph (a) or (b);
(d) a foreign public enterprise;
(e) an entity (whether or not incorporated) that does not meet any of the
(i) the entity is incorporated
(ii) the entity’s head office
is in Australia;
(iii) the entity’s principal
place of activity is, or is in, Australia;
(f) an individual who is none of the following:
(i) an elector;
(ii) an Australian citizen;
(iii) an Australian resident;
(iv) a New Zealand citizen who holds a Subclass 444 (Special Category) visa
under the Migration Act 1958 (or if that Subclass ceases to exist, the
kind of visa that replaces that Subclass).
Proposed section 110CA is closely modelled on
section 321DA of the Electoral Act and carries identical penalties for a
contravention: a civil penalty of 120 penalty units.
Generally, proposed section 110CA provides that a
breach of the civil penalty provision occurs where referendum matter is
communicated and any of the following conditions (proposed subsection 110CA(1))
foreign campaigner approves the content of an advertisement that is fully or
partly paid for (regardless of whether the foreign campaigner paid for it) or
foreign campaigner approves the content of a sticker, fridge magnet, leaflet,
flyer, pamphlet, notice or poster or
foreign campaigner communicates referendum matter that is not one of the above
Proposed subsection 110CA(2) provides for certain
exceptions (such as opinion poll research, a live meeting, or internal
communication of the foreign campaigner), and notes that the evidential burden
is on the foreign campaigner to establish the exception. Proposed subsection
110CA(3) provides that for a foreign campaigner that is not a legal person,
the contravention is taken to have been committed by each member, agent or
officer of the foreign campaigner who engaged in the contravention.
Items 15 and 16 provide the AEC with information
gathering powers in relation to assessing compliance with the foreign
campaigner provisions introduced in this Schedule. If a person contravenes a
notice from the Electoral Commissioner in relation to these powers the person
or entity commits an offence with a maximum penalty of 200 penalty units.
The remaining provisions in Schedule 3 are largely
consequential to the other proposed amendments in the Schedule. Items 8 through
11 of Schedule 3 implement changes to the required particulars of
the authorisation requirements table in subsection 110C(5) that are equivalent
to those introduced to the Electoral Act by the Electoral Legislation
Amendment (Counting, Scrutiny and Operational Efficiencies) Act 2021
but not mirrored in the Referendum Act at the time. The main change is
that the name and address of the printer is no longer required for printed
referendum communication, only the address of the authorising person.
Schedule 4 of the Bill would implement a financial
disclosure scheme for referendum campaigns (proposed Part VIIIA) that
largely mirrors the scheme in Part XX of the Electoral Act. The Referendum
Act has not previously required any financial disclosure for donations that
are used for referendum expenditure. An important part of the proposed
requirements is that they would effectively ban foreign money being used for
In brief, Schedule 4 would implement a referendum
expenditure period of the six months before a writ to a referendum is issued,
ending on the voting day of the referendum (item 1) and create a
definition of referendum expenditure which is generally
expenditure for the dominant purpose of creating or communicating referendum
matter (proposed section 3AAA of the Referendum Act).
Proposed Division 2 of proposed Part VIIIA would
have the following effects in relation to declarations of donations:
entities would be required to provide a return to the AEC setting out the
details of their expenditure, the total value of gifts received during the
referendum expenditure period and the total number of people or entities who
provided gifts, by 15 weeks after voting day (proposed section 109E)
and recipients of gifts that individually or in aggregate exceed the disclosure
threshold would be required to provide a return to the AEC detailing the
amount, date, name and address of the person who made the gift if the gift is
intended for referendum expenditure, within 15 weeks after the voting day (proposed
sections 109F and 109G).
Proposed Division 2 of proposed Part VIIIA is quite
similar to the election returns provisions of Part XX of the Electoral Act.
The key difference is that there is no distinction between political parties
and other entities. A referendum entity is any entity that incurs
referendum expenditure above the disclosure threshold, which is defined as being
the disclosure threshold in the Electoral Act (Schedule 4, Item 1).
The disclosure threshold is specified in section 287 of the Electoral Act
(and indexed under section 321A). The disclosure
threshold for 1 June 2022 to 30 June 2023 is $15,200.
All referendum entities must disclose their referendum expenditure
during the referendum period (proposed subparagraph 109E(2)(a)(i)),
whereas only non-party independent candidates are required to disclose their
election expenditure under the Electoral Act (subsection 309(1)).
Proposed Divisions 3 and 4 of proposed Part VIIIA
relate to foreign donations and foreign referendum expenditure, respectively. Generally,
under proposed Division 3, a donation of more than $100 cannot be given
by a foreign donor or received from a foreign donor if that donation is
intended to be used for incurring referendum expenditure (proposed section
109J). Proposed subsections 109J(6) and 109J(8) provide for criminal
penalties up to 100 penalty units and civil penalties the higher of 200 penalty
units or three times the amount of the value of the gift, respectively, for
contraventions of the foreign donation restrictions.
Proposed Division 4 (proposed section 109L) prohibits
referendum expenditure of $1,000 or more by a foreign campaigner. It also
prohibits fundraising for the purpose of referendum expenditure by a foreign
campaigner of $1,000 or more in a financial year. Proposed section 109L would
impose a civil penalty of the higher of 200 penalty units or three times the
amount of the expenditure or fundraising for a contravention of the provision.
Proposed Division 5 of proposed Part VIIIA contains
a number of administrative details in relation to the regulation and
enforcement of the provisions of proposed Part VIIIA by the AEC. These
provisions generally mirror the provisions in Division 6 of Part XX of the Electoral
Act. Two notable provisions are proposed section 109Y, which
requires the Electoral Commission to supply a report to the Minister on the
operation of the financial disclosure provisions and requires the Minister to
table that report in Parliament within 15 sitting days of having received the
report, and proposed section 109W which provides that failure to comply
with a provision of proposed Part VIIIA does not invalidate a
Part 3 of Schedule 4 clarifies that the donation
disclosure provisions (proposed Division 2 of proposed Part VIIIA) apply
to a referendum expenditure period of six months before the issue of a writ, if
the writ is issued after the commencement of the section, even if that means
the six-month period begins before the commencement of the Act. The foreign
donor restrictions (proposed section 109J) only apply to gifts made
after the commencement of the section; however, the foreign campaigner
expenditure provisions (proposed section 109L) apply the $1,000
expenditure limits to the financial year in which the section commences and
Part 2 of Schedule 4 would amend the Electoral
Act. Item 7 of Schedule 4 would add an item to the table in section
320 of the Electoral Act that relates to requirements to publish
determinations, notices and returns. Item 7 would provide that returns
provided under proposed Division 2 of proposed Part VIIIA of the Referendum
Act must be published by the AEC before the end of 24 weeks (around five
and a half months) after the referendum day.
While the provisions in Schedule 4 of the Bill are
relatively extensive, this is in large part because they effectively replicate
a function of the Electoral Act that has not previously been included in
the Referendum Act. The provisions do not generally bring anything new
in terms of accountability, transparency or electoral integrity.
In 2020 the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) conducted
an audit of the AEC’s administration of the financial disclosure requirements.
It concluded that the AEC’s management of the disclosure scheme was only
partially effective, stating:
The AEC‘s management of the financial disclosures required
under Part XX of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 is partially
The arrangements that the AEC has in place to administer the
financial disclosure scheme are limited in their effectiveness. …
Compliance monitoring and enforcement activities are
partially effective with the result that the AEC is not well placed to provide
assurance that disclosure returns are accurate and complete. …
The AEC does not appropriately act upon identified
non-compliance. It is not making effective use of its enforcement powers and as
such has not implemented a graduated approach to managing and acting on
While the ANAO noted that the AEC rejected the ANAO’s findings,
the report gives reason to question the appropriateness of the current implementation
of the electoral financial disclosure scheme that the Referendum Act
would be adapting from the Electoral Act. The ANAO’s concerns may be magnified
in the febrile environment of a potentially racially charged referendum
It is worth noting that the JSCEM is considering a
reference from the Government to consider reforms to the political finance
regime for federal elections, including ‘real time’ disclosure of donations and
a reduced disclosure threshold.
The Bill is agnostic on the amount of the disclosure threshold (it is defined
by reference to the amount defined in the Electoral Act in item 1 of
Schedule 4, so any changes to the disclosure threshold in the Electoral
Act would by definition also apply to the Referendum Act). Changes
such as real time disclosure of donations, however, would likely require
further amendments to the Referendum Act if the two pieces of
legislation are to remain consistent.
The remaining provisions of the Bill, specifically those
in Schedules 1, 2, 5, 6, and 7, largely propose to bring the Referendum
Act into line with recent changes to the Electoral Act or update and
modernise the drafting language of the Referendum Act. Schedule 8
proposes replacing four instances of ‘Ballot-paper(s)’ with ‘ballot paper(s)’,
131 instances of ‘ballot-paper’ with ‘ballot paper’ and 81 instances of ‘ballot-papers’
with ‘ballot papers’.
The most notable feature of Schedule 2 is that it
updates the early voting period in the Referendum Act to a maximum of 12
days, consistent with recent changes to the Electoral Act introduced by
Legislation Amendment (Counting, Scrutiny and Operational Efficiencies) Act
2021 (item 4).
Under the Referendum Act where the referendum is not being held with a
general election the Electoral Commissioner may declare the days during which
pre-poll voting is available (paragraph 73AA(1)(b)), and the proposed amendment
would restrict that declaration to being made no more than 12 days before
Also notable is that item 12 provides that a ‘Y’
mark by a voter should be treated the same as a ‘Yes’, and an ‘N’ vote as a ‘No’.
This proposed change may not be strictly necessary, as the AEC’s published Ballot
Paper Formality Guidelines state:
The prescribed method of recording a vote in a referendum is
to use the words ‘yes’ or ‘no’ written alone (i.e. without qualification). In
all cases, however, ballot papers must be admitted where the voter’s intention
is clear (s.93(8) R(MP) A). Words with the same meaning as ‘yes’ or ‘no’ (e.g.
‘definitely’ or ‘never’), an indication of either ‘Y’ or ‘N’, as well as ticks
are all capable of clearly demonstrating the voter’s intention. (30)
The Explanatory Memorandum notes that these changes are
for providing ‘greater legislative certainty’.
Other items of Schedule 2 propose to amend the
physical and logistical process of the scrutiny (the process of counting ballot
papers) to reflect recent legislative changes to the Electoral Act.
These provisions are adequately described in the Explanatory Memorandum and
should not be controversial.
The provisions in Schedule 5 would extend the
designated elector scheme implemented in the Electoral Act by the Electoral
Legislation Amendment (Electoral Offences and Preventing Multiple Voting) Act
2021 to the Referendum Act. Briefly, the Electoral Commissioner
can nominate a person as a designated elector if that person is suspected or
convicted of multiple voting. Once made a designated elector, the elector must
vote by declaration vote. If a designated elector continues to multiple vote
any multiple votes can be identified during the declaration scrutiny process and
excluded from the count. The process is described in more detail in the Bills
Digest to the Bill in which the provisions were introduced to the Electoral
The provisions in Schedule 6 would implement some
of the changes made to the Electoral Act by the Electoral
Legislation Amendment (Contingency Measures) Act 2021 to the Referendum
Act. These changes are described in the Bills
Digest to that Act.
Briefly, in the case of an emergency that affects voting the Electoral
Commissioner may make a legislative instrument that modifies certain aspects of
the operation of the Act to allow voters to vote and campaigners to hand out
Schedule 7 contains a collection of provisions
which do not fit under any of the other categories, but again mostly bring the Referendum
Act into line with changes to the Electoral Act over recent years.
This Schedule also modernises the drafting language of the Act (a number of the
provisions would replace ‘o’ clock in the afternoon’ with ‘pm’, and ‘p.m.’ with
‘pm’, for example).
The change in Schedule 7 to the penalty for the
offence of interference with political liberty (item 25) brings the
penalty into line with the equivalent offence under section 327 of the Electoral
Act, which was changed by the Electoral
Legislation Amendment (Electoral Offences and Preventing Multiple Voting) Act
All of the amendments in these other provisions either
have essentially no practical effect (changing ‘ballot-papers’ to ‘ballot
papers’) or bring the Referendum Act into line with provisions that have
existed in the Electoral Act for at least one federal election. They do,
however, highlight the difficulty that recent Governments have had keeping the
provisions of the Referendum Act consistent with the Electoral Act
and provide an argument for a more radical re-think of the legislative
framework for constitutional referendums, including repealing the Referendum
Act and incorporating constitutional referendums into the Electoral Act
as a special type of election, as recommended by the Committee inquiry in 2009.
Constitutional expert Professor George Williams described
the changes provided for in the Bill as ‘largely cautious and conservative’.
This approach speaks of a Government that is conscious of the relatively short
length of a parliamentary term and the need to not too radically change the
referendum process for risk of taking attention away from the extremely
important subject of the impending referendum itself. Most of the changes are
not radical and will be familiar to regular participants in Australian federal
electoral events. However, the levels of integrity and transparency that will
be imposed by the donations and disclosures provisions will be no better than
that for current federal elections, which are amongst the weakest in the
country and are insufficient according to the Government’s own election
The provision to suspend the operation of section 11 of
the Referendum Act is likely to provoke resistance. While the
requirement for the preparation of the Yes and No cases may be regarded as anachronistic,
it gives parliamentarians a genuine stake in the process of a constitutional
referendum and a reason to vote for or against the constitutional alteration Bill.
Recent parliamentary inquiries into referendums have also evidenced the
parliament’s enthusiasm for the cases.
Suspending the restrictions on government spending in
referendums has now become commonplace for referendums for both Coalition and
Labor governments, suggesting that there is bipartisan agreement that the
provisions require amendment. It is unclear why successive governments have
felt the need to suspend the provisions rather than repealing them and leaving
referendum funding up to the government of the day, or specifically providing
for funding for a campaign. In the absence of this, the Parliament may be
reluctant to write the Government a blank cheque in relation to referendum
Referendums in Australia: A Quick Guide, Research paper series, 2023–23,
(Canberra: Parliamentary Library, 8 November 2022).
dates and results’, Australian Electoral Commission.
of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, Inquiry
into Constitutional Reform and Referendums, inquiry
Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, 65.
Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, 70.
. Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, 78.
Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, 79–81.
. Standing Committee on Social
Policy and Legal Affairs, 82.
Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, 79.
Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, 85–86.
2 of the report
provides a useful legislative and political history of the Yes/No case
provisions and Australian federal referendums legislation generally and is
recommended for readers who are interested in this history.
of Representatives Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, A
Time for Change: Yes/No? Inquiry into the Machinery of Referendums, (Canberra:
House of Representatives, 11 December 2009).
Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, 13–14.
Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, 16.
v Morling (1988)
83 ALR 667.
Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, 16–18.
. Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs,
Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, 58.
Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, 65.
Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, 68–69.
Lesser (Shadow Attorney-General) and Jane Hume (Shadow Special Minister of
Lack of Detail Risks the Voice’, media release, 1 December 2022.
Government will Not Send Out Yes and No Case Pamphlets Ahead of the Voice to
Parliament Referendum. Does this matter?’, Conversation, 2 December
Rules Benefit Education and Transparency’, Australian, 5 December
Government Wants to Change Australia’s Referendum Laws. How will this Affect
the Voice to Parliament?’, Conversation, 7 December 2022.
. See Australian
Laws Amendment (2022 Measures No. 5) Bill 2022 homepage; Josh Butler, ‘Indigenous
Voice Opponents say Labor is being 'Disingenuous' on Funding for Campaigns’,
The Guardian, 4 December 2022; Peta Credlin, ‘Why
Albo Wants to Use Voice to Silence Everybody’, Sunday Telegraph, 4
December 2022, 19.
Memorandum, Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Amendment Bill 2022, 5.
2: Payment Measures’, Budget Measures: Budget Paper No. 2: 2022–23,
Statement of Compatibility with Human Rights can be found at page 6 of the
Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill.
. Daryl Williams, ‘Second Reading Speech: Referendum Legislation Amendment Bill 1999’, House of Representatives, Debates, 11 March 1999, 3761.
. Williams, Second Reading Speech: Referendum Legislation
Amendment Bill 1999, 3761.
Reading Speech: Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Amendment Bill 2013,
House of Representatives, Debates, 14 May 2013, 3122.
. Patrick Gorman, Second Reading Speech: Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Amendment
Bill 2022, House of Representatives, Debates,
(proof), 1 December 2022, 13.
Memorandum, 12, 13.
. Explanatory Memorandum, 13.
Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, 13–14.
Paper No. 2, 2022–23, 107.
Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee, Estimates, Official
Committee Hansard, 8 November 2022, 32.
and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2017’, Bills Digest, 101,
2016–17, (Canberra: Parliamentary Library, 2017).
minor amendment was made to the terminology used in the definition by the Electoral
Legislation Amendment (Political Campaigners) Act 2021.
of 1 January 2023 a penalty unit is equivalent to $275, up from the previous
amount of $222: see Crimes
Act 1914, section 4AA as amended by the Crimes Amendment
(Penalty Unit) Act 2022.
National Audit Office (ANAO), Administration
of Financial Disclosure Requirements under the Commonwealth Electoral Act,
Audit Report, 8, 2020–21, (Barton, ACT: ANAO, 17 September 2020), 7–9.
for example, Josh Butler, ‘Marcia
Langton Warns of Risk of 'Nasty, Eugenicist' Debate about Race Ahead of Voice
Referendum’, The Guardian, 5 December 2022.
into the 2022 federal election, Joint Standing Committee on Electoral
Matters (JSCEM) inquiry homepage.
further information see Damon Muller, ‘Electoral
Legislation Amendment (Party Registration Integrity) Bill 2021 [and related
Bills]’, Bills Digest, 15, 2021–22, (Canberra: Parliamentary
Legislation Amendment (Party Registration Integrity) Bill 2021 [and related
Bills]’, Bills Digest, 15, 2021–22, (Canberra: Parliamentary
Legislation Amendment (Assurance of Senate Counting) Bill 2021 and associated
Bills’, Bills Digest, 34, 2021–22, (Canberra: Parliamentary Library,
Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, 69.
funding and disclosure in Australian jurisdictions: a quick guide,
Research paper series, 2022–23, (Canberra: Parliamentary Library, 6 December
2022); Anthony Albanese (Leader of the Opposition), Labor’s
COVID Recovery Taskforce report; weight loss; agriculture; phone reception in
Tasmania; visit to Tasmania; Federal election; national security; Labor’s
policy agenda; aged care crisis; Scott Morrison’s failures during the COVID-19
pandemic, Transcript of Interview by Belinda King, ABC Northern Tasmania
Breakfast, 23 February 2022.
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