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The Voice Panel Discussion

On 18 May, over 80 people joined us as the Chinese Australian Forum proudly hosted a panel discussion and dinner on the upcoming Referendum proposing the establishment a First Nations’ ‘Voice’ to Parliament in our Constitution. This event provided an opportunity for members of the Chinese community and our friends to learn more about the Referendum and hear, firsthand, the thoughts and experiences of prominent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Our condolences were extended to Nyunggai Warren Mundine AO, who was unable to join us on the night due to the passing of a close family member, but we welcomed a number of his staff at the event.

We were privileged to hear from:

  • Dr Christine Evans, Associate Professor of Practice, Sydney School of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney and Chair of Museum of Contemporary Art Indigenous Advisory Group

  • Dr Leah Lui-Chivizhe, Senior Lecturer in Indigenous Histories and Associate Dean (Indigenous), Social and Political Sciences at the University of Technology Sydney; and

  • Dr Shireen Morris, Constitutional Lawyer and member of the Radical Reform Lab at Macquarie University Law School

Panel members shared their thoughts about enshrining a First Nation Voice to Parliament in the Constitution. Dr Morris discussed the origins of the ‘Voice’ proposal and the Uluru Statement of the Heart and talked about international models/approaches to Constitutional recognition and engagement with First Nations peoples in other countries, which have been in place for many years.

Dr Evan and Dr Lui-Chivizhe, both Australian First Nations people, honoured the Forum by discussing their views and experiences working with government and the role of Advisory Boards, like the Voice. They also shared deeply personal stories about themselves, their families and communities and the unique position of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations in our modern multicultural society. We thank them very much for their openness and generosity in sharing their stories with us.

The wonderful presentations were followed by a range of questions and comments from those joining us, both provocative and instructive, lending a deeper understanding of this important issue to all in attendance.

At the conclusion of the event we asked people to complete a survey to find out:

  1. If prior to attending CAF's Panel Discussion on the Voice, they had already decided how they would vote at the Referendum

  2. If they found the Panel Discussion informative; and

  3. If after attending CAF's Panel Discussion on the Voice, how they would vote at the Referendum

We are pleased to report that over 80% of people found the Panel Discussion informative. This is reflected in a drop from 27% to 10% of people reporting that, following the Panel Discussion they were still ‘Undecided’ about how they would vote.

  • 63% of people reported that they are supporting the YES campaign.

  • 27% of people reported they would support the NO campaign.

To find out more about this important issue, you could visit:


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