A serial Australian entrepreneur has funded his own “educational” campaign against Voice to Parliament, spending thousands of dollars on digital ads to defeat the referendum.
Constitutional Equality is an online campaign that describes itself as being made up of “moderate, non-politically aligned Australian citizens… concerned about the lack of information about the long-term impacts of enshrining racially specific power in the constitution.”
Nestled among quotes from Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr, the Constitutional Equality website includes arguments against Voice, highlights “false” arguments for it, and features essays and interviews with anti-Voice figures such as the aussieChris Merritt’s legal associate and Australian Catholic University Honorary Fellow Anthony Dillon.
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According to Meta’s political advertising analytics tool, PoliDashboard, Constitutional Equality’s anti-Voice ads on Facebook and Instagram promoting its content have been shown more than 869,000 times to Australians this year at a cost of just under $17 000.
The campaign is licensed by Phillip Mobbs, who registered the campaign website under his company Learning International PTY LTD. Business and website records show that Mobbs has registered a large number of other companies. including autism development program Life Concepts International and a more recent Cardano cryptocurrency venture, Thriv Staking Pool.
Mobbs said he started the campaign to get people thinking about Voice to Parliament.
“Initially I was voting Yes, and then I started looking into it with colleagues and over time we started to realize that this was not going to be constructive for democracy in Australia,” he said. Crikey about the phone.
Citing his own experiences backpacking through Malaysia, which he said has a “racially discriminatory legislative environment” that causes “racial unease”, Mobbs is concerned that a Voice in Parliament would bring up the same issue here.
Registering the name late last year and launching it online earlier this year, Mobbs notes that Constitutional Equality predates Advance Australia’s No, Fair Australia campaign, though he speaks warmly of that campaign’s leaders.
“I think I should support Jacinta Price and Warren Mundine and those who are running the No campaign,” he said.
Mobbs is cautious about the details of his campaign. He doesn’t say how many people are involved, though he admits he hired an Australian company in the US to help him establish Constitutional Equality’s digital presence. He also won’t say how many donations he’s received, how much he plans to tip or how much he expects the organization to spend. Instead, he gets around it by stating that the Yes campaign has much better resources than the No campaign (Crikey reported earlier this week that the No campaign has spent more than the Yes side in recent months on online ads).
Mobbs thinks Constitutional Equality is striking a chord—“becoming a community of people who have become social media influencers, posting and creating content, contributing articles, donating money”—because she’s interested in the idea. of how the entire Australian population functions. together instead of divided by race.
“(La Voz) will not be good for indigenous or western peoples,” he said.