The Yes campaign for the Voice has found a public figure in the form of legendary singer John Farnham as it desperately tries to win over voters.
Farnham, 74, has provided his iconic song You’re The Voice for an official campaign ad, which has been well-received by the Yes camp and its supporters.
‘This song changed my life. I can only hope that it now might help, in some small way, to change the lives of our First Nations people for the better,’ the singer said in a statement.
Tim Wheatley, the son of Farnham’s manager Glenn Wheatley, added: ‘Win or lose this referendum, this song will forever remain on the right side of history.’
The Yes campaign was forced to ditch celebrities in a humiliating backflip earlier this year over fears Australians didn’t like being talked down to.
The campaign has slowly been losing support with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Linda Burney failing to turn the tide with their political rhetoric.
Troubling poll results indicate the Voice is on track for a referendum defeat but the addition of Farnham has renewed hopes the charm and appeal of the singer could turn the tide and draw more supporters to the Yes camp.
Farnham is considered to be one of Australia’s most iconic singers with the superstar winning several music awards, named Australian of the Year in 1987, and inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2003.
Legendary singer John Farnham (pictured) has provided his iconic song You’re The Voice for a campaign advertisement that backs an Indigenous Voice to Parliament
It appears Farnham and the use of his song in the ad has helped garner recognition for the importance of an Indigenous Voice.
The move by Farnham, who has remained relatively apolitical throughout his music career, has also resulted in heavy backlash from his fans and other Aussies online.
‘A very sad day today to hear John Farnham allowing his song to be used for the YES campaign,’ wrote one woman.
‘Selling yourself out to a divisive political stance.’
‘Have been a fan of yours for decades. You have just sold your soul to half of Australia. Shame on you.’
Another said: ‘I used to think the song ‘You’re The Voice’ was for all Australians.’
‘Disappointed that John Farnham has decided to make it divisive and political.’
‘You’re not my voice John Farnham….’ added a third.
‘John Farnham has given permission for his song ‘You’re The Voice’ to be used by the #VoteYes23 campaign to promote the racial division of Australia,’ wrote another.
‘He effectively just lost at least 60% of his audience.’
The singer, 74, said he hoped his song in the ad ‘might help, in some small way, to change the lives of our First Nations people for the better’
The move by Farnham, who has remained relatively apolitical throughout his career, resulted in heavy backlash from his fans and other Aussies online
Opposition leader Peter Dutton took a swipe at the Yes campaign over the ad, dryly noting the lyrics to the song could backfire during an interview on Sky News.
‘In a sense, it’s the appropriate theme song for the Yes campaign, because remember that the key line in the lyrics there is, you know, ‘you’re the Voice, try to understand it’,’ he said.
‘I honestly don’t think most Australians understand it. And they want to be informed.’
Mr Dutton accused Prime Minister Anthony Albanese of being ‘tricky and sneaky’ in withholding information until after the October 14 referendum, which will decide if the Voice is constitutionally established.
‘The problem is not that entertainers and people from the top end of town are supporting the Voice or lending their support to it, it’s that the Prime Minister won’t support the public in their decision-making,’ Mr Dutton argued.
‘He’s deliberately withholding information and withholding that information until after the election, he’s been very clear about that he will give you the detail after the vote has taken place, which is quite remarkable.’
Mr Dutton said if the referendum on October 14 fails then he will hold a referendum to constitutionally recognise Indigenous Australians without establishing the body.
Farnham and the use of his song in the ad has helped garner recognition for the importance of an Indigenous Voice to Parliament (pictured, Anthony Albanese speaks to the media following Pat Farmer’s arrival at the Sydney Opera House on his Run for the Voice campaign)
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said the Farnham song was unintentionally apt for the Yes campaign
Others have praised Farnham for lending his support to the Yes camp.
‘Despite extreme bullying and nastiness from the No campaign aimed at anyone using their voice to help others find their own, Farnham has lent his Aussie anthem, You’re The Voice, in support of The Voice!’ said one.
‘It’s awesome that John Farnham has given permission for his song ‘You’re The Voice’ to be used to front the YES CAMPAIGN’ commented a second.
Another wrote: ‘Awesome news about John Farnham giving permission for Yes campaign to use his song ‘You’re the voice’.
The campaign ad featuring Farnham’s iconic hit shows a family watching historic Australian moments on a television.
It includes Cathy Freeman winning gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generation, John Howard’s gun reforms after the Port Arthur massacre and the passing of same-sex marriage in 2016.
It also features the government handing back Uluru to its traditional owners in 1985, Australia’s Americas Cup win in 1983, and the court case led by Eddie Mabo in 1992 that paved the way for Indigenous land rights.
The Uluru Statement made the announcement of the partnership with the singer on social media: ‘Today we launch our new ad in partnership with John Farnham AO.’
‘Using the nation’s unofficial anthem You’re the Voice as the backing track, Farnham lends his voice to the Voice to support the YES vote.’
The campaign ad will air across television, social media and other digital platforms from Sunday.
The ad shows a family watching historical Australian moments on a television, including Cathy Freeman winning gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, as You’re The Voice blasts
The campaign ad will air across television, social media and other digital platforms from Sunday
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced on Wednesday that the referendum will be held on October 14.
Mr Albanese has long maintained confidence that the referendum would succeed despite opinion polls showing marginal majority support for the Voice waning in recent months as the public debate has become more heated and divisive.
‘I think people will begin to focus more. I expect that many Australians won’t focus until the last few weeks,’ Albanese told reporters. ‘A majority of Australians will come to an answer that there’s nothing to lose here, only upside.’
The Yes campaign will need a majority of Australians and a majority in at least four of the six states in order to succeed. Only eight of 44 referendums have succeeded in Australia’s 122 year history – all with bipartisan support.
It comes as the Prime Minister faces plummeting support over the Voice to Parliament with a poll finding voters are linking his handling of the issue to his ‘competence and judgement’.
Labor’s primary vote has dropped to be just four percentage points ahead of the Coalition, according to the latest Resolve Political Monitor poll.
Support declines for both Mr Albanese (pictured with Malarndirri Mccarthy, Warren Snowdon, Linda Burney and Senator Pat Dodson) and the Indigenous Voice to Parliament
While Mr Albanese remains the preferred leader over Mr Dutton, the latest results are the lowest for the PM in the Resolve surveys since winning the federal election 15 months ago, Nine Newspapers reported.
In a double blow for Mr Albanese, support for the Voice also continues to decline ahead of the October referendum.
Support for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament has slumped from 63 per cent a year ago – to just 46 per cent last month.
The poll results indicated the proposed Voice has majority support in Victoria and Tasmania.
But it has majority opposition in NSW, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia.