People, such as campaign workers, may distribute flyers or cards encouraging electors to vote for the referendum outcome they support (referendum communications). Campaign workers are reminded it is an offence to print, publish or distribute misleading or deceptive statements relating to the casting of a vote. When producing referendum communications, campaigns need to be mindful of the colour and size of their material so as to avoid any confusion between the referendum communications and ballot papers issued to electors by the AEC. All printed referendum communications must be properly authorised. The authorisation particulars required will vary depending on who the authorising person or entity is. For example, printed referendum communications may need to notify:

  • the name of the authorising person or entity
  • the full street address of the authorising person or entity
  • the name of the natural person responsible for giving effect to the authorisation (if required).

In accordance with s 11 of the 2021 Determination, authorisation particulars for campaign flyers or cards handed out to electors must:

  • be at the end of the communication
  • be reasonably prominent
  • be legible at a distance at which the communication is intended to be read
  • not be placed over complex pictorial or multicoloured backgrounds
  • be in a text that contrasts with the background on which the text appears
  • be printed in a way that the particulars will not fade, run or rub off.

To ensure compliance with these formatting requirements, the colour of the authorisation particulars should not bleed or blend in with the background colour. If a person or entity seeking to print a referendum communication is uncertain about appropriate colours, they are encouraged to seek advice from printers on what text colour will contrast best with the background colours.

It is possible for a sticker to be used to affix the authorisation particulars to the printed communication. However, care must be taken to ensure that the sticker does not fade or fall off and cause the printed referendum communication to be in breach of the authorisation requirements.

The authorisation particulars on any referendum communications must also comply with the language requirements for printed communications, as follows:

  • if the communication is only in English, then the particulars must be notified in English
  • if the communication is only in a language other than English, then the particulars must be notified in both English and the language used for the rest of the communication
  • if the communication is in two or more languages, the particulars must be notified in both English and at least one of the languages (other than English) used in the communication.

Campaigns must ensure that referendum communications have clear instructions and are well designed to assist electors to cast a formal vote. Otherwise, information may confuse some voters and cause them to cast an informal vote without meaning to do so.

Six-metre rule

There is a general prohibition on canvassing within six metres of an entrance to a polling place or early voting centre, which means that campaign material or other non-AEC notices cannot be distributed or displayed within that distance. Campaign material must not be left in a polling place.

Mobile polling teams do not provide campaign material to voters in a referendum. Campaigns may send material directly to establishments where the AEC will be conducting mobile polling. In this case, voters can ask the establishments directly for the material.