The impassioned boss of the Australian Electoral Commission launched a furious attack on breakfast television on Friday after his staff have been subject to "disgraceful" abuse ahead of the Voice to Parliament referendum.
Commissioner Tom Rogers took his opportunity on ABC Breakfast to blast the behaviour of some Australians in the lead up to the October 14 vote, saying he was appalled by the online hate his team has copped amid confusion on how to correctly mark the ballot papers.
"Some of the [online] content related to veiled threats of violence and even death threats against the staff, and I think that's frankly disgraceful, un-Australian and odd," he said.
AEC contacts social media companies over 'misinformation'
There has been a vast amount of "misinformation" floating around on the internet in the lead-up to the referendum and Mr Rogers confirmed the AEC has reached out to social media giants to remove misleading and inaccurate content.
"We continue to try to ask them to remove content which we think breaches their own standards," he said, with the 'No' campaign accused of using scare tactics to encourage those unsure of their decision.
Opposition Leader and 'No' campaigner Peter Dutton fronted the backlash about the voting process last month when it was highlighted that ticks on the ballot paper would be marked as a yes, whereas a cross would be disregarded as illegitimate, as has been the case for decades across six referendums.
"I think it's completely outrageous to be honest… If a tick counts for 'Yes' then a cross should count for 'No', it's as clear as that," he said on 2GB radio.
The AEC has repeatedly reminded Aussies to write either the words 'Yes' or 'No' to have their vote counted. "Please don’t use [ticks or crosses] ... we will be very clear with our communication that people need to write the full word 'yes' or 'no'," the AEC told Yahoo News Australia in early September.
Bid to allow crosses count dismissed
United Australia Party's bid to have crosses counted as no was dismissed by a Federal Court judge on Wednesday.
Almost 98 per cent of eligible Aussies have registered to vote — the largest enrolment in Australia history. There have also been a record number of young and Indigenous Aussies registering to have their say.
Workers cop abuse after retailer encourages Yes vote
After the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) launched a campaign which backs a First Nations voice in parliament, workers have allegedly experienced customer aggression in the workplace.
In store retail assistants have claimed customers have become hostile because of social media statements and promotional signs in shop widows about The Voice, and a store customer service desk received threats over a public announcement system.
“Sadly, some consumers have taken retail workers to task about the position held by their employers, which is completely unacceptable," ARA Chief Executive Officer Paul Zahra said in a statement.
“That’s another reason why we have developed this campaign - to give our members the tools they need to ensure safe and respectful conversations between people who hold different views."
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