Recently the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) released the case pamphlets from the Yes and No campaigns in the Voice to Parliament referendum. Over the coming weeks, every Australian household will receive both pamphlets, along with the referendum question itself and the AEC’s official guide to participating in the 2023 Referendum.
Whilst Prime Minister the Hon Anthony Albanese MP hasn’t released the referendum date, the AEC states that the pamphlets are to be delivered to Australian households no later than 14 days prior to referendum day. The release of the pamphlets is a reminder that whilst we haven’t yet reached the height of discourse on the referendum, we are certainly approaching it.
As we advance towards Australia’s first referendum since 1999, the team at Nexus APAC have compiled a list of influential journalists whose reporting on the Voice and the referendum is worth paying attention to – along with some recommendations on Voice coverage that you can read, watch, and listen to.
Dan Bourchier – Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
Mr Bourchier leads the ABC’s coverage of the Referendum and the Voice to Parliament. He is also a regular co-host of The Drum, a current affairs program. Currently, Mr Bourchier is featuring in One Plus One – The Elders, a segment on The Drum that showcases Mr Bourchier travelling all across Australia to listen to First Nations Elders.
Nexus recommendation: How Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders have shaped culture and country for tens of thousands of years (by Dan Bourchier and Stephanie Boltje)
Like his mentor Stan Grant, Mr Bourchier is proudly Indigenous and aims to bring First Nations affairs to the forefront. He grew up in Tennant Creek, Northern Territory, on Warumungu land, commencing his journalism career at National Indigenous Television (NITV) in 2010. In 2012, Mr Bourchier moved to Sky News before settling at the ABC in 2017. He left his role in news anchoring to become the ABC’s Voice correspondent earlier this year.
Mr Bourchier is a present and influential figure at the ABC. He is Chair of the ABC’s Bonner Committee, which advises the managing director and board on Indigenous affairs, and the ABC Pride Committee, which advocates for LGBTIQ+ employees.
Natalie Ahmat – National Indigenous Television (NITV)
Ms Ahmat, a Mudburra and Wagadagam woman, is the Head of Indigenous News and Current Affairs at NITV. Additionally, she is a News Presenter and Senior Producer, with over 15 years of experience at the network.
Ms Ahmat currently presents NITV News, Australia’s only dedicated Indigenous television news bulletin on National Indigenous Television. During her tenure at NITV, she has anchored the channel’s live coverage of some of the most significant Indigenous events in recent history.
Nexus recommendation: NITV’s Program, The Point: Referendum Road Trip, which airs weekly on NITV. Journalists John Paul Janke and Narelda Jacobs visit every Australian state and territory, uncovering a wide range of attitudes towards the Referendum across urban, regional and remote communities.
Whilst advertising the program to Women’s Agenda, Ms Ahmat said, ‘I think a lot of what we are hearing so far has been very much the politics of it in Canberra, and rightly so as this bill passes through the relevant houses in Canberra… but as we move towards that referendum, we really want to showcase and platform the voices of Indigenous people right across the country. Be informed before you go and cast your vote, whichever way you decide to vote’.
Rosie Lewis – The Australian
Ms Lewis is The Australian’s Political Correspondent. More recently, the Voice to Parliament has been the most prominent subject of her writing. Ms Lewis covers the political behind-the-scenes of both the Yes and No campaigns.
Ms Lewis has also covered policy in-depth across social services, health, Indigenous affairs, agriculture, communications, education, foreign affairs and workplace relations.
With over a decade’s worth of experience at The Australian, Ms Lewis was labelled ‘a genuine leader among the new generation of political journalists in Canberra’ by former editor-in-chief of the masthead, Mr Christopher Dore. She has been in the federal parliamentary press gallery since 2014.
Nexus recommendation: Speaking out: opposing camps state their reasons for and against an Indigenous voice to parliament (by Rosie Lewis and Simon Benson), a comprehensive piece on the Yes and No pamphlets, effectively summarising both campaigns with visual aids.
Tom Crowley – The Daily Aus (TDA)
Mr Crowley is the political journalist at The Daily Aus, a news platform that delivers bite-sized news stories to young Australians. He has interviewed the leaders of both major parties and has appeared as a panellist on the ABC’s Insiders, The Drum and Friday Briefing.
On top of his domestic and international political coverage, Mr Crowley is known for his economic commentary and analysis. This is unsurprising, given his two years as an Analyst at the Federal Treasury, three years as an Associate at the Grattan Institute, as well as his position as Chief Editor of the Economics Student Society of Australia. During his tenure at the Grattan Institute, he contributed to Grattan’s analysis of two rounds of federal and state budgets and co-authored the report Women’s Work on economic outcomes for women during the COVID-19 recession.
Mr Crowley appears regularly on the TDA podcast.
Nexus recommendation: An update on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, a 13-minute podcast where Mr Crowley offers impartial insights into opinion polling on the referendum and what you need to know about the Voice moving forward.
As the referendum nears, the Voice will be an increasingly prominent matter on the minds of Canberra’s political figures, together with all Australians. The media will continue to play a significant role in informing Australians on this historic and potentially significant change to our nation’s Constitution and acknowledgement of First Nations peoples.