Other Regulatory Requirements for Referenda


Apart from complying with the Codes of Practice, several other forms of regulation apply around the Referendum.

a. Sponsorship and advertising

The usual requirements around sponsorship and advertising apply throughout the referendum period, as they do with elections. See Code 6 of the Community Radio Broadcasting Codes of Practice. For more guidance on what’s covered, how to tag and examples of advertising vs sponsorship, see the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s Community Radio Broadcasting Sponsorship Guidelines.

b. Political tags

Information about the rules that community broadcasters must comply with regarding political matter can be found in the ACMA’s Guidelines for the broadcast of political matter | ACMA. The guidelines have been recently updated to reflect recent legislative changes in relation to referendum advertisements. See also the AEC’s Electoral Backgrounder on requirements for referendum communications.

c. Referendum blackout period.

An advertising blackout period applies to referenda in the same way as for elections. This includes television and radio but not online referendum advertisements (including sponsorships) promoting different sides of the debate.

d. Charities requirements

The Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission has released guidance for charities, advocacy and the planned Referendum.

The ACNC’s “what is OK” guidance includes the following:

  • “Charities can, and often do, engage in advocacy activities and some charities might want to advocate for a particular outcome on the referendum.
  • If a charity plans to undertake advocacy activities, it must be able to demonstrate why it considers its advocacy furthers its charitable purposes.
    In the case of the planned referendum, some charities may just want to make a statement of support for the “yes” or “no” case. An example of this would be a message of support in the charity’s email signature block. This statement would not jeopardise their registration with the ACNC.”

If your station is registered with the ACNC, it is essential that you check both the ACNC guidance above on their website and the AEC’s information on legal requirements for referendum related donations.

Click here to return to the home page of the CBAA's guidance on the Voice referendum.