Voice to Parliament: Referendum pamphlets translated into more than 30 languages

  • The Voice pamphlets have been translated into more than 30 languages.
  • The 26-page document outlines key arguments for and against the Voice.
  • Australians will vote in the first referendum in a generation on 14 October.
Migrant and remote Indigenous communities can now access key information on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament in their own language, just weeks from Australia’s first referendum in a generation.
On 14 October, voters will decide whether the Voice, a body advising parliament on issues particularly impacting Indigenous people, will be enshrined in the constitution.
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) outlining arguments for the Yes and No camps online in July, with hard copies since hitting millions of Australian letterboxes.
In the interim, it has also been working to ensure voters with limited English have access to the same information, amid concern migrant communities and remote Indigenous voters may be left uninformed about key details on the vote.
Other versions of the 26-page document, in 34 foreign languages and three Indigenous languages, on Friday, with translations in other Indigenous languages expected over the next five weeks.
AEC spokesman Evan Ekin-Smyth said it had reviewed which languages were most correlated to people not speaking proficient English.
“In the translation space, we carefully look at what languages we translate into … We ended up with what I think is one of the largest bodies of translation across the public service in terms of communication campaigns,” he said.
Guides on how to enrol are also available in three African languages – Swahili, Somali, and Tigrinya.

The pamphlets include the formalised Yes and No arguments, written by a handful of MPs, along with practical information on the vote – like the question Australians will vote on, how to enrol, and details on postal ballots.

Migrant communities a key target for both camps

In 2021, nearly a quarter of Australians (22.3 per cent) reported that a language other than English was the dominant language in their home.
And a survey of 130 people, published in July, found little knowledge of the referendum in migrant communities.

The poll – conducted by AMES Australia, an organisation helping recent arrivals settle in Australia – found more than 40 per cent of respondents were completely unaware of the Voice, with another 25 per cent only partly aware.

Anthony Albanese in suit and glasses.

Australians will vote on the Voice in October. Source: AAP / AAP

Both the Yes and No camps have made migrant voters a key target.

In January, prominent No campaigner Warren Mundine raised the idea of recognising migrants alongside Indigenous people in the constitution, as “offensive” and “divisive”.

The Coalition made the creation of the pamphlet a condition of backing Labor’s referendum machinery bill.

The government had initially resisted that push, arguing the advent of social media since Australia last held a referendum in 1999 meant hard-copy pamphlets were outdated.

While the AEC will seek to provide help in other languages, formal translations are available in the following foreign languages:

  • Arabic
  • Assyrian
  • Bangla
  • Bosnian
  • Burmese
  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • Chinese (Traditional)
  • Croatian
  • Dari
  • Farsi (Persian)
  • Filipino
  • Greek
  • Hazaragi
  • Hindi
  • Italian
  • Karen
  • Khmer
  • Korean
  • Lao
  • Macedonian
  • Maltese
  • Nepali
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Punjabi
  • Russian
  • Serbian
  • Sinhalese
  • Spanish
  • Tamil
  • Thai
  • Turkish
  • Urdu
  • Vietnamese

And the following Indigenous languages:

  • Pitjantjatjara
  • Tiwi
  • Yolngu Matha
Stay informed on the 2023 Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum from across the SBS Network, including First Nations perspectives through NITV.
Visit the to access articles, videos and podcasts in over 60 languages, or stream the latest news and analysis, docos and entertainment for free, at the 

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