Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney (file image)
Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney is a leading advocate for the voice. Image by Lukas Coch/AAP PHOTOS

Altered photo paints false picture of minister’s voice stance

August 17, 2023

Linda Burney was photographed with a sign campaigning against the voice.


False. The original image has been manipulated to spread misinformation.

An image shared online purports to show Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney with a sign urging a vote against the proposed voice to parliament.

This is false. The image creator has manipulated a photograph of Ms Burney unveiling her own portrait honouring her historic achievements as an Indigenous woman to produce malicious misinformation.

In the altered image, the portrait painting has been replaced with text reading: “THE VOICE VOTE NO Racist, Apartheid, Divisive, Toxic”.

The Facebook post (screenshot here) has been shared dozens of times by opponents of the voice, including here and here.

A screenshot of the Facebook post.
 People pushing the ‘no’ vote are sharing the altered image. 

It is a digitally altered version of an original photograph of Ms Burney unveiling her official portrait at Parliament House in Canberra on February 13, 2019.

The event was photographed by Australian Associated Press (AAP) and the original image can be seen in AAP’s photo archives.

Ms Burney’s portrait is in the Historic Memorials Collection at Parliament House.

It was commissioned to commemorate the significance of the Wiradjuri woman being the first Indigenous woman in the House of Representatives.

Linda Burney unveils her portrait (file image)
 Linda Burney unveiled the portrait in Canberra in February 2019. 

Ms Burney is a leading advocate for a constitutionally enshrined voice to parliament, which Australians will vote on in a referendum later this year, and has never expressed sentiments like those in the doctored image.

The minister has repeatedly spoken in favour of the proposed Indigenous advisory body, as seen in her National Press Club address in Canberra in July 2023.

“For too long governments have made policies for Indigenous Australians, not with Indigenous Australians,” Ms Burney said in her speech.

“We need the voice to change that. We need the voice because we need to work in partnership with communities. We need the voice because we need to do better.”

Linda Burney and Aunty Matilda House (file image)
 Linda Burney with Indigenous elder Aunty Matilda House at the National Press Club in July 2023. 

It is not the first time a photograph of Ms Burney has been manipulated to misrepresent her position on the upcoming referendum on the voice.

AAP FactCheck exposed this attempt in April when a photograph including Ms Burney was altered to make it appear people were holding signs opposing the voice.

The Verdict

The claim federal Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney stood in front of a sign urging a “no” vote against the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice is false.

The image is a manipulated version of a 2019 photograph taken when Ms Burney unveiled a portrait in Parliament House.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

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