Australian musicians have come out in their hundreds to support the ‘Vote Yes’ campaign in Australia’s Voice Referendum. Iconic music legends have risen up to offer their support, with John Farnham lending support and his single, ‘You’re The Voice’, to an advertisement created by the Uluru Dialogue, I’m overwhelmed with emotion and pride every time I watch it.
Music provides a sense of connection, support and understanding during the everyday, difficult and defining moments. It can heal and motivate. It provides community. It has been the soundtrack to many big moments in Australia’s history and is now history is calling in the upcoming referendum.
Legends Jimmy Barnes, Paul Kelly, John Paul Young, Troy Cassar-Daley, Hoodoo Gurus, Midnight Oil’s Peter Garrett, Rob Hirst, Christina Anu, Murray Cook, Kev Carmody, and even the famous US rapper MC Hammer are supporting the Yes campaign. Peak bodies ARIA, APRA AMCOS, Australian Women In Music, Support Act and Musica Viva, renowned venues and even the country’s largest record label, Mushroom Group, have all pledged support the recognition of First Nations people in the Australian Constitution and the creation of The Voice in the country’s federal Parliament.
The Voice would advise parliament and government on matters affecting Indigenous communities. The Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney, has said she will ask the Voice to prioritise Indigenous health, housing, education and jobs.The Voice is the culmination of decades of consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait people, resulting in the Uluru Statement from the Heart in 2017.
Paul Kelly has penned songs that define what it means to be ‘Aussie’, not just Australian, for decades.
Artists who support voting no seem reluctant to speak about it. Angry Anderson has spoken out though. He claims Australians are being told inequality issues facing First Nation Australians are ‘our fault’ and that voting ‘Yes’ will fix the problems.
We mainstream Australians are not racist and are tired of being told we are. – Angry Anderson, Rose Tattoo lead singer
Artists who defined my Millennial childhood and teenage years have their support behind the voice. Missy Higgins, Sarah Blasko, Josh Pyke, Bernard Fanning of Powderfinger, Xavier Rudd, Angus and Julia Stone, Dan Sultan, Spiderbait, Briggs, Baker Boy and John Butler are in support. Z Genners are out in support too: BARKA and King Stingray just two. Opera Australia as well as the symphonic orchestra of Sydney, Melbourne and Western Australia have put their support behind voting yes.
On the Friday just gone was the Now & Forever music festival in Shepparton, Victoria with some of our country’s biggest names uniting with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to throw their support behind the Yes campaign ahead of the Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum.
ABC Shepparton estimated 8,500 people watched on as rock legends Jimmy Barnes and Paul Kelly, as well as hip-hop icons AB Original, Baker Boy and the Hilltop Hoods, organsied by rapper Briggs. The line up included Baker Boy, Budjerah, Jessica Mauboy, King Stingray, Sycco, Thelma Plum, HERstory friend Alice Skye, Busby Marou, Christine Anu, Dan Sultan, Electric Fields, Emma Donovan, Tasman Keith, Ziggy Ramo, Barkaa, Birdz, Dameeeela, Jess Hitchcock, JK-47, Kardajala Kirridarra and Kobie Dee.
Musicians are storytellers. This support of the upcoming referendum is another depiction of where we are at this point in time. Music represents identity, feelings and emotions. I hope this kind of support from people of influence can help people realise this important once-in-a-lifetime moment is worth the research to form an opinion that represents your stand on First Nations standard of life and opportunity. Another essential point for me is recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait citizens in our nation’s Constitution. It’s up to every Australian to consider how they feel about these issues before heading to a polling booth on Referendum Day, Saturday October 14th, 2023.