Paul Kelly
Singer-songwriter Paul Kelly told a Hobart audience that Australia was not the land of the fair go. Image by Luis Ascui/AAP PHOTOS
  • indigenous people

‘Listen for a better future’: music legend backs voice

September 29, 2023

Paul Kelly is hoping that from little things, big things grow as he works to inspire a groundswell of support for an Indigenous voice.

The esteemed Australian singer-songwriter is lending his voice to the ‘yes’ referendum campaign as the October 14 polling day approaches.

“Because of so many reasons, this is not the land of the fair go,” Kelly told reporters in Hobart on Friday.

“Saying ‘yes’ to the voice means listening and taking advice for a better future.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese likened the Indigenous advisory body to a parents’ association that gives counsel to the school but doesn’t end up running the education department.

“But if schools listen to the advice of the people who are directly affected, teachers and parents and students themselves, then you get better outcomes,” Anthony Albanese told ABC Radio.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton hit out at Mr Albanese asking Australians to vote for an idea rather than a particular legislative model, saying withholding a final design for the voice until after the vote “just makes people suspicious”.

Yes23 co-chair Rachel Perkins took aim at voice opponents using the slogan, “if you don’t know, vote no” regarding the details.

It stopped Australians exercising their “democratic right” to be informed, she said.

“Our people are at the bottom of the social ladder in this country.

“It’s been like that for too long and we want to bring positive change to our communities’ lives.”

With the ‘yes’ campaign struggling in the polls, leading advocate Thomas Mayo welcomes reports that prominent ‘no’ campaigners are switching sides.

The Indigenous activist says there is still time for ‘progressive no’ voters to start campaigning for the voice, after reports key voice opponents had grown wary of being aligned with Mr Dutton and One Nation leader Pauline Hanson.

Mr Mayo, who is one of the voice’s architects, wants people who recently made the switch and “realised just what a great step this will be” to talk to others about why they changed their mind.

But the Black Peoples Union remain committed to the ‘progressive no’ side, arguing Indigenous Australians already had a voice the government wasn’t listening to. 

Ahead of the vote, the Uluru Dialogue has translated information about the voice into 30 Indigenous languages.

Reaching communities where English was not the primary language was a challenge but “an absolute priority”, co-chair Pat Anderson said.

The translations will be distributed through radio stations, community organisations and on the ground.