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Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

MoAD Referendum Civics Education Campaign

Finalist in Government & Politics

Entered in Social Good Campaign


In 2023, Australia prepared for its first referendum in 24 years. Referendums are an important part of Australia’s democracy, but it had been a while… the Museum of Australian Democracy saw a chance to help people engage in their democracy.

Research indicated that many Australians were confused and overwhelmed by the process of

referendums. Analysis of referendum-related search terms in Australia showed a high and

consistent volume of queries, the majority of which indicate the need for explanations of basic terms.

With a commitment to remaining neutral, accessible and relevant, the Museum developed a digital civics education campaign designed to:

- improve Australians’ understanding of the Constitution and referendums,

-  explore why the Constitution and referendums matter in everyday life, and

- demonstrate why each Australian has an important role to play in a referendum.

Strategy and Execution

The 2023 Referendum asked Australian voters to consider the Constitutional recognition of the country’s First Nations peoples.  In the lead up to this vote, MoAD received funding through an appropriation from government, with the intention of creating accessible and neutral digital information about referendums.

As a ‘people’s place’ aiming to inspire, encourage and equip all Australians to participate in our democracy, we saw this as an opportunity to reach more people and provide more than just fact sheets.

We worked with Icon Agency to develop a social media campaign driven by evidence-based insight into audiences’ feelings of overwhelm and confusion regarding the Constitution, referendums and other ‘democracy 101’ basics.

The ‘A to Z of Australian referendums’ presented 26 key words to understand referendums and the Constitution.

We recognised the importance of community and online conversation surrounding this referendum, so we also engaged Quiip, a social media moderation specialist, to moderate and foster engagement on our channels throughout the campaign.

The primary target audience for the digital campaign is young people living in Australia, aged

18-30, who are considered ‘social connectors’ and active in their communities. The digital campaign was also designed to be adaptable and flexible, meeting the needs of interested audiences regardless of their demographic.




This campaign far exceeded our initial, internally ambitious, goal of a 500,000 person reach. Overall, it garnered:

Beyond the numbers, we consider this campaign an immense success because of the clear need the Museum was able to meet, and the potential ongoing impact of our work in this space.

An unexpected outcome was the level of mis- and dis-information present across social media, both throughout the referendum and on our campaign specifically. Misinformation comprised 49.7% of moderated comments on our campaign, and, as we saw, tactics for sharing false information are evolving, increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to bypass social media moderation tools.

However, in several instances, commentators questioned those unintentionally sharing false information and pointed them to accurate sources.

Our campaign demonstrated the strength in the Museum’s online community and approach to community engagement. We are exploring methods of amplifying this strength, fostering a ‘museum for the people’ in the online spaces where this work is most crucial, at a time when democracy is more fragile than ever.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House


Entry Credits