With less than two weeks until the Voice Referendum 2023, Australia is facing a defining historical moment. On October 14, we’ll be asked to vote on whether to include an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the Constitution.
For Amnesty International Australia (and for more than 80% of First Nations people in Australia), the decision is easy. We wholeheartedly support an Indigenous Voice to Parliament, and we encourage you to vote Yes.
But for others, it’s not so clear what the right decision is. Even this close to polling day, a sizable percentage of Australians are still on the fence. With all the noise, many people don’t know what to believe or who to trust.
To counteract the myths and misinformation, we’ve put out some resources of our own in recent weeks. For starters, check out our Voice to Parliament FAQ or our mythbusting blog on common myths and misconceptions.
But we’re not asking you to take our word for it. There is loads of great information already out there, and it’s really important to listen to a diverse range of First Nations voices. With that in mind, I’ve put together a list of my top must-watch, must-read, and must-listen resources for you to enjoy and share.
Maybe you’re just starting to learn about the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Or perhaps you’ve been following along for a while and are looking for something accessible to share with family and friends who still have doubts.
However well versed you are on these issues and wherever you sit on the Yes-No-Maybe spectrum, this list of films, shows, songs, books and podcasts has something for everyone.
Top Picks: Must-Watch
- Uluru Statement from the Heart being read by Professor Megan Davis For some basic background on the voice, this is a great place to start. It was in the Uluru Statement in 2017 that First Nations people called for a Voice to Parliament to be included in the constitution. It’s read here by Professor Megan Davis.
- Kishaya Delaney Voice Referendum 101 This 15-minute overview of the voice referendum does exactly what a 101 guide should do. Activist and Wiradjuri woman Kishaya Delaney explains how we got here, why we need a referendum, and what powers a First Nations Voice will and won’t have.
- Amnesty explainer: Why We Support the Voice to Parliament Amnesty International Australia’s Indigenous Rights Adviser Rodney Dillon and Amnesty’s Indigenous Rights Campaigner Kacey Teerman explain why we should support the Voice to Parliament. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples know best how to achieve and protect their human rights. They’ve fought for the right to inform the decisions made for their families, their communities and their lands for generations.
- The Ethics Centre – In Conversation With Teela Reid
- From young nation to the longest continuous civilisation on the planet | Thomas Mayo | TEDxMelbourne
- The Point on NITV – Referendum Road Trip (Make sure you check out episode 9 in Lutruwita, on Lunawanna-allonah (Bruny Island), featuring Amnesty’s cultural advisor and Palawa man, Uncle Rodney Dillon)
- Q and A – What Could a Voice to Parliament Achieve?
- Guardian Australia explainer: Indigenous voice to parliament explained: what is it and how would it work?
- Uluṟu Statement from the Heart Background – Rachel Perkins
- Four Corners – Muddy Waters
- The Indigenous Voice to Parliament – separating fact from fiction – ABC – 7.30
- Karla Grant – Living Black, NITV
Top Picks: Must-Read
- Griffith Review Essay: The heart of seeding First Nations sovereignty – Teela Reid “‘Sovereignty’ is a colonial word. It is broadly defined as the supreme power or authority over the body politic. In Australia, the assumption that the government has sovereignty over this continent’s First Nations politik sits precisely at the core of this country’s dilemma.” Teela Reid offers a thoughtful and passionate deep dive into these issues and the history leading up to the current moment.
- Why a First Nations Voice should come before a Treaty – Pat Anderson, Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, Paul Komesaroff, Monash University If you’re confused about the technical differences between a treaty and a Voice to Parliament, this article might be the piece for you.
- The Voice to Parliament Handbook – All the detail you need – Thomas Mayo and Kerry O’Brien *also available on audible “The Voice to Parliament Handbook is an easy-to-follow guide for the millions of Australians who have expressed support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart, but want to better understand what a Voice to Parliament actually means.” A comprehensive, easy-to-understand guide from Kerry O’Brien and Thomas Mayo.
- Our Voices from the Heart – Professor Megan Davis and Aunty Pat Anderson AO
- Finding the Heart of the Nation – Thomas Mayor
- Peppermint Magazine – issue 57
- Quarterly Essay: Voice of Reason – On Recognition and Renewal – Professor Megan Davis
- *also available on audible
- Griffith Review Essay: Where Truths Collide: Challenging Australia’s shaky foundations – Thomas Mayo
- Griffith Review Essay: Speaking up: The truth about truth-telling – Professor Megan Davis
Top Picks: Must-Listen
- Podcast: The Voice Referendum Explained What is the Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum all about? Where did the key ideas come from? What it could do for Indigenous Australians, and how it might help or hinder organisations working to close the gap?
Fran Kelly and Quandamooka woman Carly Williams will cut through the noise surrounding the upcoming referendum in this new podcast and give you the information you need when it’s time to vote.
- Podcast: Better than Yesterday – Everything you need to know about the Voice Referendum with Thomas Mayo Thomas Mayo, co-author of the Voice to Parliament Handbook, leads this ABC podcast.
- 7am – “Yes” chair Rachel Perkins on truth, lies and the Voice “How information reaches voters will be the responsibility of the media. So will it rise to the challenge? And what does fair reporting look like in a debate that is already so charged?”
- Podcast: Blak Matters
- Podcast: It’s Not Just the Vibe, It’s the Constitution Kim Rubenstein and James Blackwell
- Conversations with Kath – “Its time for allies to step up!” The Voice explained (W/Teela Reid) CONTENT WARNING: some strong language
- Your Answer Matters – Referendum 101 – Australian Electoral Commission
- Guardian Podcast – Full Story: The voice AMA: does voting no ‘maintain the status quo?’
- ABC – The Law Report: The Voice and how Indigenous knowledge can help close the gap
Learn, Share and Inspire
The latest polling advice is that this referendum will rely on one-on-one conversations to encourage the people who are still not sure to write yes. If you find any of these resources helpful to understand the Voice Referendum, use them as conversation starters to keep having yarns with your friends and family – “Hey, I heard about this great episode of ___ the other day, do you want to watch it together?” is such an inclusive way to learn and expand your thinking.
You could listen to a podcast or audio book in the car on a road trip, watch one of the films at home with your family, or get some snacks and watch together with your colleagues at work. Have fun, learn together, and inspire people to vote with hope and love.
Let’s do this!
Rach McPhail, Community Engagement Associate Campaigner, Indigenous Rights Team, Amnesty International Australia