The official ‘yes’ and ‘no’ cases for the Voice to parliament have been published by the Australian Electoral Commission, along with a plea to the media to report on the topic responsibly.

 The publication of each side’s rationale and arguments gives Australians the clearest understanding yet of what they’ll be voting on later this year, and the AEC will mail out pamphlets to millions of voters ahead of the referendum. 

AEC Commissioner Tom Rogers urged media outlets to be a voice of reason and integrity while reporting on this “significant topic”. 

“Be mindful of the significant impact that reporting on the referendum will have during this important democratic event,” Rogers said.  

He added that most of the public will be less informed about the process than for state, territory and federal elections. 

Around 151 returning officers will be involved in the process and the AEC estimated the referendum’s cost would be $10 million.

“Each case [has been] published in separate, unedited and unformatted documents, exactly as they have been received by the deadline,” Mr Rogers said.

Nine Entertainment recently apologised for running a controversial anti-Voice advertisement in The Australian Financial Review from Advance Australia, an organisation campaigning for the No vote. It was criticised as using racist and sexist tropes, and of lowering the debate.

Be mindful of the significant impact that reporting on the referendum will have during this important democratic event.

The No side focuses on the risks, and claims it could be divisive and with unknown consequences. 

 The Yes case highlights the need for recognition of Indigenous people, listening to their views and argues the Voice will provide a better future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and improve the current conditions. 

“Voting Yes is about: Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our Constitution and paying respect to 65,000 years of culture and tradition and to make practical progress in Indigenous health, education, employment and housing, so people have a better life,” the Yes case stated.  

 The No case argues that the referendum is not only about recognition and has advised voters: “If you don’t know, vote no”. 

It added: “This Voice proposal goes much further… If passed, it would represent the biggest change to our Constitution in our history.” 

The latest Newspoll, commissioned by The Australian, shows support for the Voice has slid five points since May with just 41 per cent of voters saying they’ll vote Yes, 48 per cent intending to say No and 11 per cent undecided. 

Main image montage of 1Day Review/Flickr and Alan/Flickr.