MEMBERS of the Progressives of the Peninsula group have launched their Just Ask campaign as a way to “engage the disengaged, the undecideds and the No voters” before the 14 October Voice to Parliament referendum.
“Our democracy relies on informed voters. Rather than push a Yes or No position, we merely provide people with information,” the group’s chair Dr Sarah Russell said after the campaign launch outside Dromana Community Market on 23 September.
Members of the Progressives display If You Don’t Know, Ask Here signs and wear If You Don’t Know, Just Ask t-shirts.
“Although I believe informed and compassionate people will vote Yes, we didn’t want people to think we are trying to convince them to vote Yes or No,” Russell said.
“Our campaign is in response to [federal Opposition leader] Peter Dutton’s ‘If you don’t know, vote no’ campaign. When a bill is being voted on in parliament, do MPs vote nay if they don’t fully understand it, or do they undertake research to find out about the bill before they vote?”
Russell and Marg d’Arcy have been campaigning at markets, coffee shops and in shopping centres. They remind people that voting is compulsory and provide information that explains the referendum: why change the constitution? What is the Voice?
“There are still many people who are undecided,” Russell said. “There are also people who are confused. We simply answer their questions and give them a flyer with succinct information about the referendum.”
D’Arcy said the aim of the campaign was “to ensure people on the Mornington Peninsula make an informed vote”.
“We have met some interesting people such as Johnny Mathias, a young man from Brazil who received [Australian] citizenship at a ceremony on 13 September and will be voting here for the first time.”
The Progressives of the Peninsula’s information flyer is available online at: sarahrussell.com.au/2023/09/30/information-flyer/
First published inMP News on 3 October 2023