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Tomorrow's referendum on a Voice for the Indigenous population has proved a boon for printers, and shown once again why print remains a primary communication channel.

Power of print: Voice referendum
Power of print: Voice referendum

Printers have pumped out 13 million copies of the official referendum pamphlet; hundreds of thousands – possibly millions – of flyers, leaflets and how-to-vote cards for both sides; with tens of thousands of campaign posters printed; along with tens of thousands of t-shirts, bumper stickers, flags, badges and assorted promotional items.

The 13 million run official government leaflet, printed by IVE on its battery of heatset web offset presses, was a $10m job. It was only printed after an outcry by PVCA and both sides – pointing out the unrivalled ability of print to reach everyone, and in an accessible format – forced the government to reverse its initial decision not to print it. 

Tens of thpusands printed: Capaign posters
Tens of thousands printed: Campaign posters

The countless leaflets, flyers, posters, stickers and t-shirts have been produced by printers all across the country, providing a welcome fillip in what has been a slow few months for parts of the trade.

The widespread use of print, in multiple formats, has proved once again the unrivalled power of print to cut through, and to provide a cost-effective accessible message, seen in major national events in the past few months, such as the referendum and the Women's World Cup.

Kellie Northwood, CEO of PVCA said, “Any campaign, government or otherwise, that wants to reach all Australians, far and wide, across all socio-economic, geographical or literacy and comprehension levels does so via print and the letterbox. There simply isn’t a larger audience reach across any other channel in the country, nor is there a higher readership level than the letterbox.

T-shirts and caps: Voice referendum
T-shirts and caps: Voice referendum

"Whether it be the Voice referendum or government elections, we always see a spike in volume across our industry, for the afore-mentioned reasons, when campaigns are running Australians look to their letterbox for a trusted and accessible vehicle of information."

On the fight to get the government to print the official referendum pamphlet, the biggest print job of the year, which was distributed to all 12.45 million households in the country, Northwood said, "When the government initially was against including print and letterbox distribution in their campaign considerations, we were quite surprised that it would ignore one of the most effective communication channels across something as important as a referendum. Of course, we then began pointing out to the government, via letters and engagement, that our most vulnerable citizens are those who do not have internet connectivity in their homes, are the most digitally divided across our community, and further it is a constitutional right to be informed to all government legislative or other communications.

"We were very pleased to have a change of heart from the Prime Minister, and I believe from the results that we have an informed country preparing to vote this weekend. Print, and the letterbox, has played a pivotal role in that, which we can be proud of as an industry," said Northwood.



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