24 August 2023

Curtin and Hughes residents invite everyone to join hands – and say Yes

| Sally Hopman
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Residents support the Yes vote.

Di Davidson, John Davidson-Mowle, Yolanthe Daly, Vikki McDonough and Michael Mulvaney gear up for Saturday’s rally to promote the Yes vote in the upcoming referendum. Photo: Stephen Hall.

More than 30 community, environmental and faith-based groups in Curtin and Hughes, along with hundreds of residents, will join hands this Saturday, 26 August to highlight community solidarity for the Yes campaign.

Co-organisers Dr Michael Mulvaney, North Woden president of the St Vincent de Paul Society and Curtin resident Vikki McDonough, said they expected hundreds of people to turn out for the event – to walk with First Nations Australians.

Their idea is to bring the local community together to support the Yes vote in the upcoming referendum – to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

Dr Mulvaney said the idea was hatched from a kitchen table conversation with a small group of residents around the Uluru Statement of the Heart and what they could do to champion the cause.

“Vikki [McDonough] and I felt a bit low because the No vote was gaining momentum, yet to us, it was just a simple thing to say yes. So we came up with the idea to organise something locally and it has just snowballed.”

READ ALSO Yes and No put forward their cases for Voice referendum

At 11 am, everyone will be invited to gather around the 300-year-old gum tree at the base of Red Hill – the tree being identified as a symbol of Indigenous connection in the local area. A fallen limb from the tree has been made into a message stick by members of the Hughes Community Shed, with the words “ours”, “yours” and a heart carved into it.

At 11:45 am, a delegation of more than 500 people will join hands on the vacant block opposite the Curtin shops where the message stick will be passed around the human spiral.

“At the centre of the spiral will be the Uluru Statement of the Heart, saying ‘Our Hearts, Yes’,” Dr Mulvaney said. “Then everyone who wants to, can sign their commitment to the Yes vote.”

Mrs McDonough said the aim of the public display was to embrace the invitation from First Nations people to walk together.

Banners support the Yes vote.

Yes campaigners erected their banners on the vacant block opposite the Curtin shops on Wednesday ahead of Saturday’s rally. Photo: Stephen Hall.

“We want to show that we, as a community, will be voting Yes to Indigenous people having a say on the policies and laws that affect their communities.”

She said there was plenty of positive energy with the Yes campaign – “in contrast, there is no positive energy about going forward with the No vote, so it is important for us to personally respond to the Uluru statement.”

Dr Mulvaney said the Yes vote was simply asking all Australians to walk with First Nations people. That the past attitudes of superiority not only did not work, but were disrespectful.

“First Nations Australians have done all the heavy lifting,” he said. “It’s time now for us to step up and say ‘Yes’.

READ ALSO Australian Electoral Commission reports highest ever voter enrolment

“Residents of Hughes and Curtin, alongside countless Australians, want Indigenous people from all points of the southern sky to know that we stand behind and with them.”

The day will also feature a speech by Ngarigo and Yuin man and Yes23 volunteer Bindi Stewart Fitzpatrick and Wiradjuri woman Katrina Fanning, past chair of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body (ACT’s equivalent to the Voice), the current ACT Citizen of the Year and a YES23 volunteer.

Craft activities featuring Yes designs, a Yes23 stall, sausage sizzle and drinks stall will be provided.

Walkley award-winning documentary maker, Simon Cunich, will film the event which will also include a musical performance from Canberra’s A Chorus of Women and local Ngunnawal singer-songwriter, Alinta Barlow.

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Congratulations on a fantastic event, and I appreciate that everyone is working so hard to make this a reality. Its time Australia stepped up to its responsibilities to First Nations people.

Michael Mulvaney1:15 pm 28 Aug 23

500 people, mainly from Curtin and Hughes, turned up to demonstrate our communities strong support for YES for the proposed “law: to alter the Constitution by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Islander Voice.” We answered the call from First Nations people to walk together and support their request to have a say to parliament about those laws and policies that affect their own communities. When we listen to people and make decisions based on their local knowledge we get better outcomes. Why would we want to continue the wasteful mistakes of the past, where politicians and bureaucrats, mistakingly thought they knew best? This is the nub of the referendum and Australians need to be cautious that we are not distracted by side and unrelated issues. The call for a Voice is a gracious request from the vast majority of our First Nation’s People, that grew out of decades of consultation. To me, saying no is just continuing the disrespect and mistaken sense of superiority, that we know best.

Funny, I could quite easily change your last sentence to “To me, saying yes is just continuing the disrespect and mistaken sense of superiority, that we know best.” Without changing anything else in your post.

Michael Mulvaney6:11 pm 28 Aug 23

I don’t see how that can be the case – if someone graciously asks for something and you dismiss them out of hand, I can’t see any respect in that. We have a choice to accept the invitation to walk together with a YES or we can turn our backs on reconciliation and unity with a no.

From the AEC website:
“It is important to write either Yes or No. All other responses become a judgement call as to the voter’s intent. Follow the ballot paper instructions to make sure your vote is counted. Try again, entering either Yes or No.”

“A judgement call as to the voter’s intent” All the more reason to write NO so no judgement call can be made by biased scrutineers for YES

“… so no judgement call can be made by biased scrutineers for YES”
It’s good to see you maintain your (in)capacity for objectivity, FP

JS, I was an electoral official for a Federal election and I’ve seen biased scrutineers at work

From your comment it sounds like you’re a biased official towards a negative vote (No). I guess you think you’re impartial though (despite your comments).

So, FP, define biased scrutineers – perhaps they were simply asking questions, but because they represented a candidate of a different political ideology to you … I guess you would see there query as being biased

privatepublic7:01 am 27 Aug 23

Personally undecided. Did locate a website with indigenous voices supporting the no vote, which entices one to think.


Out in the YouTube world there is some hot debate going on…Racist mantra being thrown all over the place, quite sad really. Australia is the least racist/nationalist country I have experienced, regardless of the negativity some media outlets constantly spew out.

hi private public, that link is for the Mundine/Price campaign, two Aboriginal people, in the Liberal and National parties respectively which doesn’t really say much does it. Two independent surveys show between 80-83% support amongst First Nations people for a Yes vote in the Referendum. Agree with you that racism is quite sad and, whilst Australia may not have a high level of racism, we can always do better, right?

Not everyone who votes no is a racist. But every racist will vote no.

Hmmm. Profound. Try this one. Not everyone who votes yes is an anarchist. But every anarchist will vote yes.

Not every Greens voter is a rabid, leftie looney, but every leftie looney is a Greens voter

Anarchists tend not to vote.

So not every one who votes yes is a rabid, looney leftie. But every rabid, looney leftie will vote yes.

Nah, the people you describe wouldn’t vote at all. Sorry.

Residents should be cautious. The Uluru Statement has two objectives – a First Nations Voice and a Makarrata Commission. After the warm fuzzy feeling of creating a Voice fades, then what happens? We don’t know. Future Parliaments bogged down by squabbling and nastiness over a treaty, “truth-telling” and guilt acknowledgements, more apologies, compensation and reparation claims, demands for a new flag, national day and whatever other causes and agendas a Voice chooses to persue at the behest of whoever runs it. We just don’t know. The majority of referendums have failed because Australians are reluctant to change the Constitution for even what seem to be superficially worthy causes. Once something is in the Constitution, it would take another referendum to remove it.
So residents, be careful what you wish for and think of the mess that could be inflicted on your children.

None of your scare mongering predictions are actually supported within the wording of the proposed change to the Constitution.

Maybe some of the matters you raise will be covered under the “Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice” clause.

However, as that will be legislation it could easily be introduced irrespective of the outcome of the referendum. Equally such legislation can be repealed by any Parliament at any time. So your gloom and doom prediction “of the mess that could be inflicted on your children” has no credence under the proposed change to the Constitution.

hi Acton, would that be the same “mess” that was “inflicted” by the Mabo decision? (You know where the usual suspects told us that we’d all lose our houses?) That the one? Or the “mess” that was “inflicted” by the Apology to the Stolen Generations. Those “messes” that never happened?

One of us is wrong. One of us is out of touch. Soon enough, we’ll find out who. Bring on the vote.

The vore will do nothing do resolve the misinformation of your post, Acton … we are not actually voting on the scaremongering falsehoods you present.

It is not misinformation. It is an opinion, of an outcome, based on an interpretation of known facts and potential likelihoods. Contrary to what you believe, opinions different from your own are not necessarily wrong.

Oh I’m ok with contrary opinions, it’s distortion of facts to draw unsubstantiated conclusions with which I have a problem … and you fit the distortion bill perfectly.

Problem with your “known facts” is they’ve previously been proven wrong, for example, we’re still waiting to be turfed out of our houses thirty years after the Mabo decision, remember that “known fact” about the risks of all us white fellas having to hand over our property? Same scaremongering campaign as this one, just as false. We”ve heard the lies before, Acton.

Acton I’m voting no for other reasons but your argument is total nonsense.

The two objectives of the Uluru Statement, a Voice and Commission, plus the fact that something put into the Constitution by referendum would require another referendum to remove it. The rest was opinion. you both confuse opinion for fact, then fact for opinion, deliberately misinterpretation, deceptively refer , before resorting to childish insults. These are tactics to disguise the lack of coherent or persuasive counterpoints.

We can agree that neither of us can persuade the other. When it comes to changing the Constitution I exercise caution.

I totally agree – I would have said YES to constitutional recognition of Aboriginals as the first people of this country but the other thing – altering the constitution to give a certain group a voice -for any matter affecting them – i. e. everything! and with no sunset clause – that is a bridge too far. Better to be sure than sorry.

There you go again, this has nothing to do with the Uluru Statement, its about a voice.
You need to go back to school & study logic & epistemology. Sounds like you have a Masters in red herrings.

I exercise caution too which is why I’m voting Yes. Guess it’s a matter of interpretation then Acton.

Where in the referendum question or the proposed wording of the change to the Constitution is there any mention of the Uluṟu Statement? Yes the Uluṟu Statement was certainly a catalyst for the proposal to change the Constitution, but we are not being asked to insert the Uluṟu Statement. As previously stated you are entitled to your opinion but there are absolutely no facts whatsoever in your comment.

Balance needed6:45 pm 25 Aug 23


Good on em. I am all for people protesting or advertising whatever cause they are passionate about as long as they don’t negatively affect others.

…that being said – my vote will still be a resounding no.

How will you achieve the resounding part Bob? Use great big capital letters? Go over the lines twice? That will make a difference to the counting!

The proposal is clearly dead in the water & has no chance of getting up.

Michael Mulvaney5:40 pm 25 Aug 23

Can’t speak for outside Canberra, but standing on the street with the banners “Yes to Listening’ “Yes to the Voice” “We are in this together” we get a positive wave, flash of lights, thumbs up or yells of support from every second car and from hundreds of cars we get less than 5 that give us the thumbs down or yell abuse. Yes is such a positive thing, it takes the nation to a better unified place, while no is a denial of hope, a hope so elegantly stated in the Uluru Statement of the Heart – a must read for us all, and to so with our hearts. I think Australians are people of goodwill and fairness and this proposal is far from being a lost cause.

I agree Michael Mulvaney. Despite the hate promoted by some segments of our community including a small minority of parliamentarians, I think Australians are a people of goodwill!

Hell, YES! No more wasting public money on further referendums, campaigns, polls, etc. for what is inevitable — same outcome as in most former colonies.

It’s okay to say no

It would make someone look like a pretty crazy person though.

It’s okay to say yes.

I am not prepared to give a blank cheque to a cause poorly represented by people who abuse and denigrate those who ask for detail and a prime minister who doesn’t bother to read it’s critical documentation. No.

Yolanthe Daly1:36 pm 25 Aug 23

The critical document is the 92 words to be inserted into a racist constitution that will allow the most oppressed people in our country to have the same dignity afforded to all Australians, to be consulted about what affects them. As migrants we have so much we could learn from the generous hearted culture of our Indigenous peoples. If you think its a no, please ensure you have read the case for no and the guardian fact check that shows that no is based on fear and mis informed views on what is at stake here

Michael Mulvaney5:47 pm 25 Aug 23

Ray a detailed account of what is being asked for and why it is essential for a unified reconciled Australia is in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, We all should read these 400 or so words before casting our votes. In essence we are being asked to say YES to the question do you think Fist Nations people deserve to have a say to parliament over the laws and policies that affect their communities? Can’t see how yes to this question equates to a blank cheque.

Fallen tree limbs in parkland shouldn’t be grafitti’ed any more than living trunks

@Lucy Baker
That’s your takeaway from the article is it? Oh well, everyone is enntitled to their opinion – no matter how shallow.

Yes Yes Yes I’ll be there!

Yes you will be there, NO I won’t

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