The Yes campaign for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament has launched a new advertisement as part of a major television blitz ahead of the referendum.
A young Indigenous boy features in the 30-second commercial, asking Australians to consider a series of simple questions about his future.
‘Will I grow up in a country that hears my voice? Will I live as long as other Australians?’ the little boy asks.
‘Will I get to go to a good school? Will I be able to learn my people’s language? Will I be seen beyond the sports field, recognised by the decision-makers of our country?
‘Yes makes it possible.’
Now that parliament has sat for the final time before the referendum, Yes campaign insiders feel now is the perfect opportunity to remind Australians of their belief is this is not a political issue.
A young Indigenous boy features in the 30-second commercial, asking Australians to consider a series of simple questions about his future
Now that parliament has sat for the final time before the referendum, campaign insiders feel it’s the perfect opportunity to remind Australians of their belief is this is not a political issue
Despite dwindling support in the polls indicating every state is trending toward a No vote, the campaign is still confident it can secure a win, relying on ‘soft’ No voters and Australians who are yet to engage with the debate at all.
Soft No voters will be targeted during the next four weeks, and there will be a concerted attempt to educate those members of the public who are yet to engage in the discussion.
While the Yes23 campaign has been active on social media and rolled out ads in the past, they’re ramping up efforts significantly between now and the referendum.
Campaign Director Dean Parkin says the ad is a powerful reminder of what the Voice to Parliament will be capable of.
He asks: ‘Will I get to go to a good school? Will I be able to learn my people’s language? Will I be seen beyond the sports field, recognised by the decision-makers of our country?
The advertisement will run alongside the Uluru Dialogue’s successful You’re the Voice ad with John Farnham ‘s famous song
‘This ad explains to Australians why a successful Yes vote is the best shot we have at tackling the entrenched disadvantage Indigenous people live with,’ Mr Parkin said.
‘Hope and optimism that the nation can finally come together and make Australia a better, fairer country continues to be at the heart of the Yes campaign.’
Mr Parkin and the Yes23 campaign hope the advert will help Australians understand the Voice seeks to ‘better address long-standing problems’ as an advisory body.
The little boy asks questions which cover the intended scope of the Voice, as first explained by Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney: health, education, employment and housing.
Ms Burney says the advisory body would ‘have a full in-tray’ from day one, and will not be limited to advising on those four areas of concern.
‘Unlike government, it won’t be distracted by the three-year election cycles. It will plan for the next generation, not the next term. It will be focused on making a better future for the next generation,’ she said in July.
Ms Burney has vowed to work closely with the Voice body in her role as minister, and will ask that it help ‘solve the most pressing issues’.
‘When I meet with the Voice for the first time I will say: Bring me your ideas on how to stop our people from taking their own lives,’ she said.
The percentage of Australians in favour of the referendum has dropped for the fifth month in a row and since the last survey Victoria has flipped to a majority No, leaving Tasmania the only state left in the Yes camp
‘Bring me your ideas on how to help our kids go to school and thrive. Bring me your ideas on how we make sure our mob live strong and healthy lives. How we ensure more people have jobs – with the independence and purpose that brings.
‘How we strengthen culture and language. How we support families better. How we keep alive our 65,000 years of culture and make it stronger.’
Ms Burney said she hopes a Voice to Parliament will target the ‘systemic and structural disadvantage’ of Indigenous Australians in a speech to the National Press Club in July.
She referred to Closing the Gap statistics which demonstrate how First Nations people face higher rates of incarceration and higher chances of dying younger.
Mr Parkin said: ‘We’re highlighting how a Voice to Parliament is a simple and practical way to improve outcomes in areas such as Indigenous life expectancy, health, education and employment.’
‘Indigenous Australians have asked all Australians to listen to them about how to fix the problems they face in their communities. This is exactly what a Voice will do.’
The advertisement will be rolled-out across TV, print, radio and Yes23 digital channels this weekend.
For the referendum to be successful, a majority of Australians in a majority of states must vote Yes. Support for the Yes case has fallen from more than 60 per cent to 40 per cent or even below, partly on the back of comments made by those behind the Voice to Parliament and the Uluru Statement of the Heart.
The most recent Resolve Political Monitor survey showed 43 per cent of voters supported a plan to enshrine the Voice into the Constitution, down 20 percentage points from a year ago.