Fake image of Sydney Opera House used to promote 'No campaign' in Voice referendum

Fake image of Sydney Opera House used to promote 'No campaign' in Voice referendum

What was claimed

The verdict

The Sydney Opera House featured a light display with the text “Vote No to the Voice” as part of a campaign against the referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

Altered Content. The image has been digitally manipulated. Text has been superimposed onto a genuine photograph of the Sydney Opera House taken during a light display of Aboriginal art, to make it look as though the landmark was being used to promote the ‘vote no’ campaign.

By Eiddwen Jeffery

A fake photograph posted to social media creates the false impression that the Sydney Opera House was used in a ‘vote no’ campaign against the referendum to enshrine an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the constitution.

The digitally manipulated image depicts a light show of Aboriginal art projected onto the sails of the Opera House, with the message: “Vote No to the Voice”.

digitally altered image of Sydney Opera House, with projected light show of Aboriginal art and superimposed text that reads: Vote No to the Voice.

The fake image was posted on Twitter by political activist and ‘vote no’ campaigner, Warren Mundine, alongside the words: “Now that is a projection I wholeheartedly agree with”. 

His Twitter account has 52,600 followers, with the post retweeted 674 times, receiving more than 3500 likes.

The Opera House immediately distanced itself from the image, with a spokesperson telling RMIT FactLab: “The Opera House has not lit the sails with a ‘vote no to the Voice’ message, nor was it involved in any way with the production and distribution of this doctored image.”

Mr Mundine also posted a screenshot of his tweet containing the fake image on his Facebook account which has 26,000 followers. Comments below the post suggest some users believed the photograph was genuine, even though Mr Mundine did not claim it was real. His post provided no information other than his own caption.

For example, one user commented: “It’s a NO from me. Best show on the opera house,”  and another said, “the Best the Opera House has ever looked!”. 

The original photo was of a light display of artwork titled Diyan Warrane by Kamilaroi woman and Sydney artist Rhonda Sampson projected onto the Opera House as part of New South Wales' 2023 celebration of Australia Day.

Sydney Opera House, with projected light show of Aboriginal art Rhonda Sampson's artwork projected on the Sydney Opera House during the 2023 NSW Australia Day ‘dawn reflection.’

The image has been digitally altered, with the words “Vote No to the Voice” superimposed onto the photo. The image is watermarked with the caption Aussie Stuff for Aussies ®, a private Facebook group which identifies itself as a satirical channel. 

Mr Mundine has been a leading organiser of the ‘Vote No’ movement against the Voice to Parliament, with the campaign slogan: Recognise a Better Way. The campaign opposes the Voice, calling instead for a symbolic recognition of Indigenous Australians in a preamble to Australia’s constitution.

The screenshot of Mr Mundine’s tweet was also shared on Facebook by Conservative Lobby Group Advance Australia, which has 106,000 followers. Advance Australia has previously spread misinformation about the Voice to Parliament. You can read the fact check here.

The Sydney Opera House regulations state that all projected light displays must be related to a major cultural event or community project and be approved by the chief executive officer. 

The forthcoming referendum to enshrine in the constitution a Voice to Parliament, a body to advise on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Islander peoples, is expected to be held towards the end of this year.


The verdict

Altered content. The image is fake. The words “Vote No to the Voice” were digitally superimposed on an existing photo of the Sydney Opera House, taken during a light show of Aboriginal art at the 2023 NSW Australia Day ‘dawn reflection.’


01 March 2023


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