A statue of Lady Justice (file image)
A former federal court judge's name is being used to spread misinformation about the voice. Image by Keri Megelus/AAP PHOTOS

‘No’ vote propaganda falsely uses judge to discredit voice

Kate Atkinson April 13, 2023

A former federal court judge has raised concerns about an alleged voice to parliament action plan.


False. The concerns have been falsely attributed. They are actually from a speech given by Senator Pauline Hanson.

A series of Facebook posts claim a former federal court justice has expressed concerns about an alleged action plan relating to the voice to parliament.

The posts refer to documents allegedly left by National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) employees in a Canberra cafe which detail “opportunities for the voice”.

However, as AAP FactCheck previously found, there is no solid evidence the “proposed plan” even exists – let alone that the NIAA was involved.

The supposed plan was sent to One Nation senator Pauline Hanson by an anonymous member of the public. Senator Hanson then raised her concerns in the Senate.

Text and video of her speech have been shared widely across social media, examples here and here.

However, the speech is now been falsely attributed to former judge Alan Robertson SC in an attempt to promote the ‘no’ vote in the referendum for the voice.

A screenshot of part of the Facebook post.
 The post alleges a senior Australian legal figure is worried about the proposed voice to parliament. 

“Frightening Stuff! This is being circulated by the very concerned person below. A former judge of the Federal Court of Australia. He also served as a deputy president of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal,” one of the many posts (screenshot here) states.

It then lists the address, email and contact numbers for “Alan Robertson OAM, CSM, RFD”.

However, these are the contact details of a different Alan Robertson, a retired squadron leader of the Royal Australian Air Force and the Tasmanian state president of the Royal Australian Air Force Association.

“As Australians would be aware, the Liberal Party have struck a deal with Labor to give the Government the numbers to pass the Voice Referendum Machinery Bill,” the post begins.

Signage for the Federal Court of Australia
 The post falsely attributes the text as coming from a former federal court justice. 

“My concerns have been further elevated today, by a letter I received from a member of the public who provided an eleven point plan, he says was devised by staff within the National Indigenous Australians Agency, which operates within the remit of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

“But my anxiety levels are rising following this correspondence, containing details of an eleven point plan left behind by a group of 6 or 7 NIAA employees having coffee at a café in the Woden Towns Centre.”

The post then lists the alleged “eleven point plan” for the voice to parliament, which includes no entry tests or university fees for Indigenous Australians, income tax to be halved for Indigenous Australians and all new liquor licences across Australia to be vetted by the voice.

The claim has spread widely on social media, as seen here, here, here, here, here and here.

The claim has also been circulating via email.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson (file image)
 The post’s text comes from a Senate speech given by One Nation leader Pauline Hanson. 

Former judge Alan Robertson confirmed to AAP FactCheck that he is not responsible for the words used in the post.

“I do not have anything to do with these posts,” he said in an email.

AAP FactCheck also contacted the other Mr Robertson.

“I am certainly not the author of this document nor was I ever a judge of the Federal Court or VP of the AAT,” he said in an email.

The Verdict

The claim former federal court judge Alan Robertson has raised concerns about a supposed action plan for the voice to parliament is false.

The words within the posts come from a speech Pauline Hanson gave in the Senate. They have been falsely attributed to Mr Robertson. Additionally, contact details within the post relate to a different Alan Robertson.

Both men confirmed to AAP FactCheck that they are not responsible for the words featured within the posts.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

AAP FactCheck is an accredited member of the International Fact-Checking Network. To keep up with our latest fact checks, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

All information, text and images included on the AAP Websites is for personal use only and may not be re-written, copied, re-sold or re-distributed, framed, linked, shared onto social media or otherwise used whether for compensation of any kind or not, unless you have the prior written permission of AAP. For more information, please refer to our standard terms and conditions.