8 June 2023

This year, Australians will be asked to vote in a Referendum. Life Without Barriers and Polaron ensure that all Australians understand what they are voting for and how to vote.

Image: Orange and blue social media tiles in multiple languages formed into a collage.

In a groundbreaking partnership, Life Without Barriers, a prominent organisation in the child protection sector, has teamed up with Polaron, a renowned language services provider, to launch an innovative initiative aimed at ensuring equal access to voting for all Australians, regardless of their cultural background.

Be informed to vote – 14 October 2023.

The collaboration aims to address the language barriers that some individuals may encounter during the upcoming Referendum, empowering them to make informed decisions by providing translated resources and information.

Recognising the significance of inclusivity and understanding in the democratic process, Life Without Barriers and Polaron have joined forces to facilitate access to reliable and informative voting materials. With the Referendum approaching, their goal is to ensure that every Australian fully understands the purpose of the vote and how to participate.

Through the initiative, social media toolkits, videos, and translated information have been developed, catering to over 45 languages, enabling individuals from diverse backgrounds to engage with the campaign and exercise their voting rights effectively. Translations span from لعربية to Tiếng Việt and 简体中文 to Italiano. Auslan, Easy Read and Simple Language resources have also been created.

Claire Robbs, Chief Executive of Life Without Barriers, emphasised the importance of ensuring that all Australians have access to accurate information to make informed decisions during the Referendum.

"As a national provider of services, we believe we have an important role to help support the sharing of accessible information for people in the communities we serve,” Ms Robbs said.

“That includes many people who require information in Auslan, Easy and plain English, accessible formats, auditory formats and a range of languages.”

“The upcoming Referendum will be a pivotal moment in our nation’s history. Everyone deserves to understand what they are voting for and the significance of their decision.”

As the campaign progresses, Life Without Barriers and Polaron continue to work together to provide ongoing support and ensure that all Australians can access the information they need to make an informed decision during the Referendum. By prioritising linguistic diversity and inclusivity, this initiative sets a precedent for future democratic processes, promoting a society where all voices are heard and understood.

Understanding the Referendum

Later in 2023, Australians will have their say about whether to change the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

We have put together the most commonly asked questions and answers about establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

What is the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice is a way for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to advise the Government about laws and policies that affect them.

What is a Referendum?

A Referendum is when voters are asked to answer Yes or No to a question or questions. The only way to change Australia's Constitution is via a Referendum.

Who can vote in a Referendum?

Only people enrolled to vote can take part in a Referendum. Voting in Referendums is compulsory for enrolled voters.

How do I vote in the Referendum?

Referendums are like elections. On polling day, you can go to a polling place and cast your vote on a ballot paper.

What question will the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice Referendum ask?

“A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Do you approve this proposed alteration?” You will need to write ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.

Image: Photo of five people inside at a polling booth.

All organisations and individuals are welcome to download and share these resources with your networks.

For further information about the initiative and the translated materials, visit the Life Without Barriers hub!

We thank Polaron, Reconciliation Australia, SNAICC – National Voice for our Children and Yes23, for their commitment to breaking down language barriers and promoting equitable participation!

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