The Voice: The four big events that have got Australia talking

Yahoo has secured analysis of news and social media to see what key events have got Australia talking about the Voice.

The Voice has had Aussies’ tongues wagging for months now, but analysis shows interest in the hotly-contested topic is continuing to surge — with almost 100,000 reactions to the debate online and in the media every day.

Since April there have been four key events that have driven conversation.

What are the big four topics?

  • According to analysis by global media intelligence agency Meltwater, the first big spike in mentions of the Voice occurred over April 4-5 when The Liberal party confirmed it will oppose it.

  • Unsurprisingly, another small surge occurred on May 27 when Bridget McKenzie praised the Victorian National Party for backing the No vote.

  • On June 19 it was announced the parliament had passed its Constitution Alteration Bill, allowing a vote on the referendum to go ahead and this resulted in a swift spike in mentions.

  • The latest jump occurred on August 6 when a News Corp poll found the majority of people in every state and territory oppose the Voice.

Left - Anthony Albanese holding a spear and hugging a man at the Garma festival. Right - Peter Dutton and Opposition Spokesperson for Indigenous Australians Jacinta Nampijinpa Price at a podium discussing the Voice.
Australia's political leaders have been the focus of debate around the Voice. Source: Getty/AAP

What does this tell us?

Meltwater’s analysis includes legacy media like radio, television, and newspapers, as well as social media posts, blogs and online content producers.

Its vice president for Australia and New Zealand, Ross Candido, told Yahoo News Australia the amount of content being published on the Voice today is “significantly higher” than it was two weeks ago.

  • Around 20,000 people mention the Voice in media or online platforms every day.

  • The 100,000 engagement figure refers to interactions including sharing or liking posts.

The spikes in interest that we’ve seen to date have been focused on key political events, but much of the engagement was about the politicians themselves. For example, Liberal leader Peter Dutton himself was the focus of much of the discussion after his party’s announcement in April.

Mr Candido also notes on the day of the June 19 spike, it wasn't just the Constitution Alteration Bill people were reacting to online. They were also debating Independent senator Lidia Thorpe's passionate speech that she made on the same day — the video was viewed around 700,000 times.

A graph comparing year-to-date engagement with the Voice to August. It also shows the spikes.
The top graph tracks year-to-date engagement with the Voice, while the bottom reveals the month of August. Source: Meltwater

Who is more vocal about the Voice?

Analysis has found a higher level of interest around the Yes campaign, and this topic has dominated the discussion even when the Liberal Party announced it would be opposing the Voice. “The Yes campaign across the whole year, has had just under two-thirds of the share of voice,” Mr Candido said.

  • Vote Yes mentions are at 61.7 per cent.

  • Vote No is at 38.3 per cent.

Reddit is the only social media platform where discussion of Vote No is dominating. Meltwater has not analysed whether the discussion around Yes and No is positive or negative.

There is more discussion about the Vote Yes topic than the Vote No topic. Source: Meltwater
There is more discussion about the Vote Yes topic than the Vote No topic. Source: Meltwater

What are the Yes and No sides saying?

Using AI analysis of discussions on the Voice, Meltwater found both the Yes and No camps are frequently simplifying their messaging. Mr Candido thinks this could be to make decision-making an easier process for Australians when it comes to voting.

He’s noticed the Yes camp is focusing on “recognising and consulting”, while those campaigning for a No vote are focusing on concerns around the “finality of the outcome”.

Top emojis for all, yes and no.
These are the emojis people are using when talking about the Voice. Source: Meltwater

What emojis are people using to talk about the Voice?

While the smiley, prayer, thumbs up and heart emojis are commonly used to discuss the Voice on social media, unsurprisingly many of them are negative.

For the No camp, this includes the clown, poop, angry, clown and throwing up emojis. For Yes, it’s angry, and clown.

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