Media release

Yes/No case pamphlet: Content deadline now set

Updated: 20 June 2023

Following the passage of the Constitution Alteration (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice) 2023 bill, Australian Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers has written to all Members of Parliament and Senators to advise of the 28-day period for written arguments for and against the proposed change to the Constitution to be provided to the AEC.

Mr Rogers said that written Yes and No cases of no more than 2,000 words each must be received by 11:59pm on Monday 17 July 2023 in order to be included in the official Yes/No case pamphlet.

“The AEC’s role in this process is effectively to act as a post box – it’s now the job of Members and Senators to draft Yes and No cases for us to distribute to each household,” Mr Rogers said.

“While we’re legally required to provide this pamphlet, our role is otherwise about the process of delivering the referendum and is not about the topic - we don’t care which way you vote, only that you do vote.”

Under the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984, the AEC is required to take the exact cases produced by parliamentarians for the Yes and No cases and distribute them in a pamphlet to each address on the Australian electoral roll.    

“The AEC has no editorial role in the content of the Yes and No cases. We will reproduce everything that is provided to us verbatim – so we do encourage both case committees to be precise and careful about their language and grammar,” Mr Rogers said.

The pamphlet will be available before the legislated start of early voting for the referendum, in order for Australians to consider the information it contains.

“We’ll be doing everything in our power to get it to voters at the earliest practicable opportunity but there are a number of steps required to make that happen – this includes the receipt of content, formatting the product appropriately, printing and distributing around 12.5 million copies and organising the availability of accessible versions,” Mr Rogers said.

AEC TV video: Yes/No Case Pamphlet

The basics:

  • The AEC is required by legislation to send the referendum pamphlet to Australian households no later than 14 days prior to voting day for the referendum.
  • The pamphlet is expected to be approximately 20 pages long, which is significantly shorter than the most recent referendum pamphlet in 1999. The 1999 pamphlet addressed two referendum questions and included a full copy of the Constitution. 
  • The pamphlet will include the Yes/No cases of no more than 2,000 words. It will also include the proposed additional section of the Constitution.

Accessible formats:

  • Accessible formats of the official Yes/No case pamphlet will be made available via the AEC’s website or via request. It is not possible to send various versions of the pamphlet to all Australians.
  • Once the content for Yes/No cases is received, the AEC will work hard to make the pamphlet available in 34 languages for people from culturally and linguistically diverse audiences, as well as a range of First Nations languages.
  • The AEC will also have the Yes/No case content available in large print and via audio files.

Media resources: