- Ahead of the Voice to Parliament referendum, disinformation has been circulating online and in the community.
- SBS News has had the most prominent claims, including allegations about racial division and native title, fact-checked.
- Australians will head to the ballot box to vote in the referendum on 14 October.
Some say the Voice will create racial division, others argue the referendum is rigged, and there have even been suggestions that the United Nations would use the Voice to take control of Australia.
SBS News has collaborated with RMIT’s FactLab CrossCheck, which verifies online claims, to investigate the most prominent pieces of disinformation circulating about the referendum. We also spoke to a constitutional law expert about the claims.
1. The Voice would give special rights to one race of people
Esther Chan, bureau editor at RMIT CrossCheck said: “The Voice does not propose any racial segregation policies, but an advisory body that makes non-binding representations to Parliament, and which may recommend changes to improve laws and policies that have an impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
“We’re recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people because they were the first peoples here, not on the grounds of race,” she said.
“The constitution has always had race in it … if anything, if the referendum were to be passed, it would mean that at least some legislation passed by the parliament in relation to First Peoples was not dependent on the race power.”
The Racial Discrimination Act prevents states banning racial groups from voting, which means this section cannot be used.
2. Indigenous Australians already have a ‘Voice’ through agencies
RMIT FactLab has investigated whether Aboriginal agencies already give Indigenous peoples a Voice, and found they are not equivalent to the proposed Voice to Parliament.
According to RMIT Factlab, existing agencies also have different power and independence compared with the proposed Voice.
These agencies and representative bodies can be abolished by executive orders, while the Voice – if successfully enshrined in the constitution – could not be removed without holding another referendum.
3. The Voice will lead to policies that favour Indigenous people – like land tax, or losing properties
There have been claims the proposed Voice could lead to policies favouring Indigenous people, such as land tax, property rights, and non-Indigenous people losing their properties or having to pay rent.
There have also been suggestions that the Voice is a “Trojan horse” and a “treaty by another name”.
4. The Voice referendum is rigged
There is no evidence that the referendum is or will be rigged, according to RMIT FactLab CrossCheck.
, and said any blank ballot papers would not be submitted to the count.
“The only way to vote formally at a referendum is to write ‘No’ or ‘Yes’ in the box on the ballot paper.”
“These general claims of rigging seem to be one of many that have no basis in fact. They are based on absolutely nothing,” he said.
5. The UN is seeking to use the Voice to upend Australian sovereignty
A doctored clip of Anthony Albanese has circulated on TikTok, and appears to show the prime minister saying the UN will control all land in Australia if the referendum is successful.
“But there is worse information on social media as well,” he said. “World conspiracies [saying that] the United Nations will control all land in Australia. All land. [That] you will lose private ownership, everyone’s home will go with a Yes vote. It’s just absurd.”
https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/land-tax-and-un-control-a-look-inside-the-most-prominent-pieces-of-voice-disinformation/a7qgxwyyp Land tax and UN control? A look inside the most prominent pieces of Voice disinformation