Australia's failed 'Yes' campaign received four times as much money in Voice referendum

Data reveals a significant financial gap in donations between the 'Yes' and 'No' campaigns ahead of last year's vote.

Australia's failed 'Yes' campaign received four times as much money in Voice referendum
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Financial disclosure data released by the Australian Electoral Commission on Tuesday morning highlighted a stark contrast in financial support between the campaigns advocating for and against the Voice referendum. Analysis by Australian media revealed that the "Yes" campaign received a substantial $64.1 million in donations, towering over the "No" side's $15.5 million.

Despite this considerable funding advantage, the Voice to Parliament initiative was defeated both nationally, with a 60% to 40% vote, and at the state level, where no jurisdiction garnered a majority of "Yes" votes.

Leading the fundraising for the "Yes" campaign was Australians for Indigenous Constitutional Recognition, which amassed $47.5 million, followed by the University of New South Wales with over $11 million.

On the opposing side, conservative lobby groups Australians for Unity and Advance Australia received $11.8 million and $1.3 million, respectively, with the Liberal Party acquiring $1.9 million in donations.

The "Yes" campaign's financial backing predominantly came from corporate giants, unions, and philanthropic organisations.

Notably, the Paul Ramsay Foundation contributed over $7 million, with major banks ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, and NAB collectively donating over $7.9 million.

Despite the immense financial efforts, the "Yes" vote faced a significant defeat, raising questions about the impact of financial backing on referendum outcomes.

The Australian Electoral Commission estimated the cost of the referendum to taxpayers at approximately $450 million.

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