With the upcoming referendum regarding the Voice to Parliament, the Community Media Training Organisation would like to assist community media organisations in preparing for the conversation. 

It is important for stations and organisations to engage in discussions that are based in fact and take into consideration respect and cultural safety. 

In order to help achieve this, we are sharing information from the Australian Government and the Community Broadcasting Association of Australia about The Voice and your obligations as community broadcasters. 

About The Voice Referendum

On Saturday, 14 October 2023, Australians will have their say in a referendum about whether to change the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing a body called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

Voters will be asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on a single question. 

The question on the ballot paper will be:

“A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

Do you approve this proposed alteration?”

Visit the Australian Electoral Commission for information on enrolment and voting.

CBAA Guidance Material

The following guidance material is designed to assist stations to understand your regulatory obligations and find trustworthy information when covering the upcoming referendum to change the Australian Constitution.

The guidance material below is designed to help all of our members:

  • understand what they need to do to accurately report on the Voice and deal with disinformation;
  • meet their obligations around referendums under broadcasting and other regulations; and
  • sensitively navigate cultural issues

The Referendum is a significant event in Australia’s history.

Community broadcasting brings its own strength to the debate through independent coverage that supports local communities to have respectful discussions. Our sector is not about clickbait and division – it is about bringing together our local communities.

Staying ahead of misinformation can be challenging. Regardless of each broadcaster’s point of view, all stations must ensure that any coverage and discussion meets the obligations of the Community Radio Broadcasting Codes of Practice, including being accurate and non-discriminatory.

More than any other media sector, we are uniquely placed to be informed by First Nations perspectives and to support First Nations communities to be heard.

Of the 500+ community radio services across Australia, 143 are First Nations services, operated by 51 First Nations organisations, representing over a third of our sector. First Nations programs and presenters also appear across other community radio stations.

It is also important to be sensitive to First Nations concerns. The Referendum is passionately contested, and aspects of the debate have the potential to cause damage and distress to First Nations people who have experienced racism and intergenerational trauma from government policies, so the importance of respectful coverage cannot be overstated. As a sector we have strength in our networks and the ability to work productively with and be guided by advice from our local First Nations communities.

Guidance resources: 

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