Voice ‘yes’ campaign ready for Adelaide launch

The campaign supporting an Indigenous voice to parliament will kick off with a national launch in Adelaide today in the lead-up to this year’s referendum.

Feb 23, 2023, updated Feb 23, 2023
Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney  Photo: AAP/Murray Mccloskey

Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney Photo: AAP/Murray Mccloskey

The launch of the official “yes” campaign will be held on Thursday at the Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute in Adelaide.

Held during a week of community action for the voice, the launch is being run by the From the Heart organisation.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said this week the referendum on enshrining the voice in the constitution will be held between October and December.

Semara Jose, who is part of the “yes” campaign, said the launch would be a powerful signal.

“This conversation around recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the constitution has never been about politicians, it is an invitation extended to all Australians,” she said.

“That opportunity (is) for all Australians to begin at this conversation, to join on the journey with us, to be open to really have some powerful conversations.”

Meanwhile, Indigenous independent senator Lidia Thorpe has said she is still to decide if  she would back the voice to parliament.

Senator Thorpe quit the Greens this month due to differences about the Indigenous voice.

She said she wanted to see tangible action from the government on improving Indigenous lives.

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“I know everyone in that room (at the “yes” campaign launch) will support action and movement on these two important areas that the Closing the Gap report continually, every year, continues to fail,” Thorpe said.

“They’re the conversations we need to have, that’s been part of the negotiations since the beginning. And we can’t lose sight of that, because people are dying.”

Thorpe said she had written to the prime minister about meeting with the referendum working groups.

“It’s important that the black sovereign movement has an opportunity to meet with those making decisions for our people,” she said.

“I have a collective of black sovereign grassroots people who’d like to have a … respectful conversation with the working groups, the prime minister and the minister responsible.”

Shadow treasurer Angus Taylor said the voice would need to show how the body would improve Indigenous lives.

The Liberal Party has yet to make a formal decision on its stance on the voice.

“The detail really matters. This has potential to be a very substantial change, but we don’t know the detail,” Taylor said.

“We have come to this in good faith. We recognised there are real challenges in Indigenous communities that need to be addressed. We want to see those issues addressed on the ground.”

-with AAP

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