Image: GetUp campaign
Ever heard of the Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Amendment Bill 2022? If you haven’t, you’re not alone. But this technical-sounding bill is going to define this year’s referendum – and it’s up for debate in a matter of days.
In past months, GetUp has been attending working groups and lobbying ministers to ensure enrolling and voting is accessible and safe for remote First Nations communities.
At the centre of the campaign are four priorities:
- Voter enrolment support. Allowing voters to enrol on the day of the Referendum, so long as their identity can be vouched for, can help increase voter turnout and particularly for those living in remote areas.
- Making voting easy and accessible. Increasing translation services and making polling more accessible, especially in remote communities can help reduce barriers to voting.
- Increased funding. By allocating better funding for programs like The Indigenous Electoral Participation Program (IEPP), this amendment can ensure that the heavy work needed to counter Coalition-led voter suppression inflicted on First Nations communities will be undone in time for the referendum.
- Awareness and education programs. Additional funding for the Australian Electoral Commission and local community groups can build better awareness and address unique access issues that exist for remote communities.
The bill is being debated in a few days and it’s likely that the changes we’ve been fighting for will be tabled.
The bill is being debated in a few days
In 2010, the GetUp movement challenged Howard-era electoral laws that would have seen tens of thousands of young people denied the right to vote – just because they missed a registration deadline.2 GetUp took this all the way to the High Court. And won.
Less than two years ago in the 2020 Northern Territory election, GetUp fought for enrolment to stay open right up until voting day, ensuring those who otherwise would have been blocked from voting could have their say. And they didn’t stop there – from Minyerri to Borroloola, GetUp worked alongside First Nations communities to enrol thousands of people to vote.3
an estimated 112,057 First Nations people were unenrolled in the last Federal election
And in late 2021, after weeks of intense action from GetUp members, they fought to defeat racist voter ID laws in Parliament alongside First Nations communities – and won.4
These laws were a last ditch attempt by the Morrison Government and One Nation to stop First Nations people, as well as people living below the poverty line or fleeing violence, from voting.5
Research landed on the desks of decision-makers throughout Parliament, showing that an estimated 112,057 First Nations people were unenrolled in the last Federal election.6
Alongside this important work, we need to make sure we have the right system in place to make sure everyone can engage in the referendum – and that starts with essential reform to our referendum machinery bill.
 Indigenous enrolment rate, Australian Electoral Commission, 31 December 2022.
 GetUp! High Court win overturns Howard’s electoral laws, The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 August 2010.
 NT Election: Youth push to get NT mob on electoral roll, SBS News, 24 July 2020.
 Kill Bill: ‘discriminatory’ voter ID laws dropped as Lambie denies support, SBS News, 1 December 2021.
 Pauline Hanson claims credit for Coalition’s controversial voter ID laws, The Guardian, 28 October 2021.
 Indigenous enrolment rate, Australian Electoral Commission, 31 August 2021.
“We MUST respect this earth - it is all we have
Claudio Dametto - South Australia
“I will always Vote to Preserve Our World.
Liam McGregor - Western Australia
“A simple message that even a politician can understand
Felicity Crombach - Victoria
“Please show you care about our future generations!!
Phil Harmer - New South Wales
“Save our world , Life & health before profits.
Kerry Lillian - New South Wales
“Close down all coal mines and Do not mine gas . Make these Companies
Daniel Johnson - New South Wales
“We want carbon free energy!
Edan Clarke - New South Wales
“Feels good to be taking a voter action step
Beaver Hudson - New South Wales
“Great Initiative. Let’s Hold elected officials Accountable to their bosses, us!
John Paul Posada - New South Wales
“We need actions not words we need honest democratic govt We need a pm
Bob Pearce - South Australia
“Thank you for this great resource. I was feeling helpless. Even this small step
Silvia Anderson - Victoria
“If political parties continue receiving political donations, we will rarely have politicians working for
Dan Chicos - New South Wales
“I only vote for people who will take urgent action to restore a safe
Susie Burke - Victoria
“Current government is not representing the opinion of the majority of Australian to meet
Neil Price - Tasmania
“We are fighting to rescue our kids' future from those who seek to steal
Vanessa Norimi - Queensland
“No time to waste Now or Never My vote is for NOW
Rosalie White - Victoria
“I am only 9 but I already care
Ava Bell - New South Wales
“From New Lambton Uniting Church - Caring for our world is a moral imperative.
Niall McKay - New South Wales
“Our federal govt is an International climate Embarrassment - its about time they stepped
Oriana Tolo - Victoria
“Vote earth this time!
Sue Cooke - Queensland
“We are in one on the wealthiest countries in the world. we have the
rowan huxtable - New South Wales
“The climate Emergency is the public health opportunity and urgent priority of the 21st
Mike Forrester - Victoria
“If they want my vote they better act now
Barbara McNiff - New South Wales
“We need to act locally now for the earth. Our only home. Vote Earth
Anne Miller - New South Wales
“I often look at the places I've known all my life and see how
Jim Baird - New South Wales
“Strike one For people power!!! Democracy might prevail outside the current cronyism that faces
Lorraine Bridger - New South Wales
“Our federal politicians Are Afraid to make action on climate change a major election
Jennifer Martin - New South Wales
“climate election, let's go!
Fahimah Badrulhisham - New South Wales
“Great to see this website that is a focus on action for climate change
Lynette Sinclair - New South Wales
“Let’s show politicians and the Murdoch media that climate change is by far the
Jane Aitken - Australian Capital Territory
“If you want to stay in power You need to take action to stop
Jane Bulter - New South Wales
“We are all that stands between terminal climate change and the vulnerable. We are
Carol Khan - Queensland
“We need a Government that Believes this is real and not taking money from
Ken Gray - New South Wales
“I'm voting for my childrens future
Anneliese Alexander - New South Wales