Yes campaign doubles the spend of No side in Voice referendum loss

Katina Curtis and Dan Jervis-Bardy
The Nightly
2 Min Read
Campaign Director of Yes 23 Dean Parkin.
Campaign Director of Yes 23 Dean Parkin. Credit: Jenny Evans/Getty Images

More than $92 million was spent during the Voice referendum campaign with almost half that amount coming from the official Yes campaign.

The top five groups backing the Yes case spent more than double the top five groups on the No side — and were ultimately unsuccessful.

Figures published by the Australian Electoral Commission on Tuesday reveal Australians for Indigenous Constitutional Recognition spent $43.8 million during the campaign period.

Sign up to The Nightly's newsletters.

Get the first look at the digital newspaper, curated daily stories and breaking headlines delivered to your inbox.

Email Us
By continuing you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

The University of NSW, which is home to the original Uluru Statement from the Heart and employed Uluru Dialogues co-founder Megan Davis, spent a further $10.3 million supporting the Yes campaign.

Labor Party branches spent a combined $939,279 on the campaign, and many unions also backed the Yes side.

On the No side, official campaign vehicle Australians for Unity spent $11.8 million while Advance Australia spent $10.4 million.

Clive Palmer’s Mineralogy spent $1.9 million while the Liberal and National parties combined spent $2.7 million.

During the referendum, 36 philanthropic foundations publicly joined forced to make a combined $17 million in donations to the Yes campaign.

The Paul Ramsay Foundation, which led this effort, was the single largest donor on either side, giving just over $7 million.

Other large philanthropic donors included the Yajilarra Trust, set up by MYOB founder Craig Winkler and his wife Di in 2009 to fund causes with a focus on Indigenous people, and Susan McKinnon Foundation co-founded Sophie Oh.

Yajilarra donated almost $4.5 million and Ms Oh gave $1.5 million.

ANZ, Woodside, Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, Wesfarmers, BHP and Rio Tinto all donated $2 million or more to the Yes campaign.

Woodside donated $100,000 to the Kimberley Land Council as well as giving money to the official campaign entity.

The single largest donor to the No campaign was Perth doctor Bryan Macfie, who gave a combined $900,000 personally and through his family trust.

Dr Macfie has previously gained public attention for large donations to right-wing think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.

Victoria-based MaiTri Foundation was the next largest donor, giving $329,000.

Retired Perth car salesman Brian Hadley Anderson, who The West revealed earlier in the year as being behind a million-dollar donation to Advance, gave a further $50,000 during the referendum period.

Kwinana-based Coogee Chemicals also donated $40,000 to the No campaign.

On the Yes side, former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull chipped in $50,000, Wesfarmers chairman Michael Chaney gave $20,000 personally, and Yes campaign director Dean Parkin also put in $16,500.

The origin of any donations totalling below $15,200 did not have to be declared under election rules.

Latest Edition

The front page of The Nightly for 15-04-2024

Latest Edition

Edition Edition 15 April 202415 April 2024

Justice Lee finds Lehrmann ‘hell-bent on having sex’ with Higgins and ‘didn’t care if she knew what was going on’