AEC Report – Yes’ Campaign Outspent ‘No’ by 2:1

Following the rejection of the proposal to grant Indigenous Australians a Voice to Parliament in a 60:40 referendum outcome, it has been disclosed by the Australian Electoral Commission that over $80 million was expended by various groups advocating for both sides of the issue.

The “Yes” campaign, which supported the proposal, outspent the “No” campaign by more than double. Approximately $55 million was spent by the proponents of the referendum, while the opposing groups spent upwards of $25 million. Under the law, any donations exceeding $15,200 are required to be disclosed.

Australians for Indigenous Constitutional Recognition, leading the pro-Voice campaign (Yes23), emerged as the top spender, allocating $43.8 million towards their cause, with donations totalling $47.5 million. The University of New South Wales (UNSW), housing the Uluru Statement from the Heart, received $11.12 million in donations, spending $10.3 million.

On the opposing side, Australians for Unity (also known as Fair Australia) spent $11.1 million, while Advance Australia, a conservative political lobby group, spent $10.3 million, despite receiving only $1.3 million in declarable donations. Clive Palmer’s company, Mineralogy, invested $1.93 million against the Voice proposal.

Additionally, the Voice No Case Committee, Recognise a Better Way group, and other entities combined spent $188,356 opposing the referendum.

Noteworthy donations to the “Yes” campaign came from Silver River Investment Holdings, with $250,000 each from Riley Street Car Park Pty Ltd and Harbig Properties Pty Ltd. The largest individual contribution to the “Yes” campaign came from the Paul Ramsay Foundation, which donated $7.01 million.

Corporations such as ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, Woodside Energy, BHP, Rio Tinto, Wesfarmers, Woolworths, Telstra, and Qantas, among others, supported the pro-Voice campaigns with significant contributions. Several unions, including the Australian Education Union and the Australian Council of Trade Unions, also donated to the cause.

Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull contributed $50,000 to the “Yes” campaign, while the progressive campaign group GetUp! received $1.71 million in donations, spending $1.37 million on its pro-Voice efforts.

Furthermore, independent MPs and organizations like Waverley Council also supported the “Yes” campaign financially.

The rejection of the proposal has sparked varied interpretations, with proponents of the “No” campaign emphasizing concerns about division, while others advocate for focusing on addressing societal issues directly.



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