This register lists prominent pieces of disinformation the AEC has discovered regarding the announced referendum on the Voice to Parliament. It also provides details of actions the AEC has taken in response.
The AEC is not responsible for fact-checking claims about the Yes or No case for a referendum, and we do not seek to censor debate in any way. However, when it comes to the referendum process we conduct, we’re the experts and we’re active in defending Australia’s democracy.
Correct information Australia's postal vote system is secure with many verification steps & scrutineers observing. All ballots have security marks, the envelope structure protects a vote's secrecy, roll mark off is verified & postal counts occur in secured AEC premises with supervision and scrutineers.
AEC has responded to the allegation on many social media posts and provided a link to show the process undertaken at AEC counting centres.
Correct information The AEC provides pencils as they do not smudge when a ballot paper is folded, they can be stored and
re-used from one event to the next, they don't run dry in tropical locations and they are cheaper than
other implements. Voters are permitted to bring their own pen to mark the ballot paper with if they wish.
Pencil marks are not erased. Polling officials are never alone with ballot papers - there are layers of
supervision in place during the count and scrutineers are able to be present during counting. Suggestions
of a conspiracy to overturn a referendum result by erasing ballot papers simply does not account for the
transparency or scale of the process, let alone the history of high integrity Australian electoral events.
The AEC social media team posted the responses to comments relating to the use of pencils and the
rubbing out of votes as well as proactive content regarding the counting process in place. There is also a
video specific to the use of pencils that has been used in online channels, and on the AEC website.
Correct information The writ for the 2023 Referendum was signed and issued by the Governor-General on Monday 11
September 2023 in accordance with the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984.
The AEC is required to deliver the referendum in accordance with the writ and the Referendum
(Machinery Provisions) Act 1984. There is no provision in the Act to display the writ at polling places.
It is an entitlement and the duty of every elector to vote at each referendum.
The AEC has published a copy of the writ on the AEC website and provided a link to where it can be
viewed. There is also a video available regarding the requirements for the writ's issue. Response to
various social media comments and public enquirers have stated the facts.
Correct information The AEC updates the electoral roll continuously to ensure its ongoing accuracy. This includes comparing
data from government agencies and other trusted sources. The AEC processed thousands of death
deletions prior to the close of rolls for the referendum and throughout 2023, as well as address updates.
The AEC also conducts regular reviews of the roll and uses SMS, email and letters to electors we believe
may need to update their enrolment.
The roll moves every day - and increases continuously - in line with increasing population and changes in
The correct information has been posted in response to comments across social media platforms by the
AEC social media team. The AEC has also provided factual information to media representatives
regarding the maintenance of the electoral roll.
Correct information There will only be one question on the 2023 referendum ballot paper, asking if voters approve a proposed change to the Constitution.
For a referendum to occur, legislation must pass parliament. The legislation that passed parliament for the 2023 referendum to occur was the Constitutional Alteration (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice) 2023 Bill. It outlined a single question only. The question on the ballot paper will be as follows.
"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?"
AEC social media accounts have consistently countered versions of this claim. The AEC has also answered questions on this matter from media representatives and domestic fact checking organisations, leading to debunking in mainstream media articles.
Correct information The AEC is legislatively obligated to distribute the Yes and No cases as they have been received from, and authorised by, the Yes and No case committees.
The AEC has not looked at the veracity of information in the cases at all. If the AEC were to change the content of the cases submitted by case committees, or perform a fact checking service on the information, it would be inappropriate and potentially illegal.
AEC social media accounts have consistently countered versions of this claim. The AEC has also proactively communicated about the agency's role in this task - via media releases, proactive social media posts/videos, stakeholder letters, via the AEC website and in media interviews.
Correct information In 1973, the Government amended Queen Elizabeth II’s title in Australia to ‘Queen of Australia’. This change has led to a small number of incorrect claims about the validity of the Constitution, as well as any laws passed by the federal Parliament, since 1973.
Constitutional scholars and the High Court of Australia have all considered and rejected this claim. The Parliamentary Bill changing the Queen’s Australian title is not only constitutionally valid, it was signed by Queen Elizabeth II herself, during her 1973 visit to Australia.
There is only one way Australia’s Constitution can be changed: by the successful passage of a referendum.
AEC social media accounts have consistently countered versions of this claim.
Correct information The AEC received funding to promote Indigenous enrolment in the 2021 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook. As announced at the time, this funding has been used to enable the delivery of targeted measures to promote Indigenous enrolment, such as advertising.
This funding was committed in recognition that the estimated enrolment rate at the time for Indigenous Australians, at 81.7% lags behind the overall enrolment rate of 97%.
This MYEFO measure was announced by the previous Government and was made well in advance of the announcement of a referendum on a Voice to Parliament. The two are entirely unrelated.
The AEC has had a focus on promoting Indigenous enrolment since at least 2010.
The AEC’s social media accounts responded to clarify that the focus of advertising is to promote Indigenous enrolment.
Correct information Ballot papers are tracked at all stages of transport, counting and storage. Ballot papers are counted by 100,000+ temporary staff, supervised by permanent AEC staff and observed by scrutineers (non-AEC staff) - ensuring transparency and accuracy.
AEC social media accounts replied to educate users about the security measures taken for ballot papers.
Correct information Referendums are run using the same infrastructure as federal elections. This involves 100,000+ temporary staff undertaking the count, under the supervision of AEC staff and independent scrutineers.
Correct information No, you do not need to enrol separately. Your current enrolment details on the AEC’s electoral roll are used for all federal elections, by-elections and referendums. If your enrolment details are correct, you do not need to do anything. If you need to update your enrolment go to https://www.aec.gov.au/enrol/.
AEC social media accounts confirmed that separate enrolment is not required for a referendum.
The AEC acknowledges the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.