Yes to the Voice

“We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.” - Uluru statement from the heart.

Musica Viva Australia announced its support for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament in the upcoming referendum. As CEO of Musica Viva Australia, I want to talk about the process by which we came, as an organisation, to make this public statement. 

It was December 2022 when we - the Management and Board - first began talking about the Voice, and what it might mean for Musica Viva Australia. Back then, at the beginning of the journey, it seemed like a much simpler conversation. 

In February, my first Board Meeting as CEO, I asked the Board, rather than making a decision, to let us approach this as a company-wide opportunity to learn because, in my experience, the process can be more significant than the outcome. Focusing on the process, and taking time to listen to many voices, has stood us in good stead as the complexity of the debate has unfolded. At all times, I think back to that heartfelt invitation in the Uluru Statement to walk together for a better future. 

Musica Viva Australia’s journey started with conversations with First Nations artists, including artists working with us, and key representatives in the arts sector. We knew that people would land in different places, and that it was important to acknowledge a diversity of views and, and to avoid exclusionary language. We also discussed the importance of leadership and our responsibility, as an organisation, to the people we work with and to the broader arts community. We came back, time and again, to the core values of Uluru Statement, and how those values aligned with our own. After internal and external consultation and reflection, we went back to the Board and formulated a statement which, we hope, represents these values. It is a significant but by no means final step on the long trek.

I am enormously grateful for the generosity of everyone taking part in this process. We were conscious at all times of the labour involved – not just in terms of hours spent having thoughtful and sometimes challenging conversations, but in terms of the emotional and social energy required, especially for First Nations people. As the referendum approaches, I encourage everyone in the Musica Viva Australia community to listen openly and respectfully to all viewpoints about the Voice, to inform themselves, and to share balanced information about the Voice with their own communities.   

Read our full statement here.

Learn more about the Voice to Parliament here.