ANTaR ACT – special edition newsletter on the referendum – Sept 2023

We now know the date for the referendum – 14 October. In just over a month, we will be voting on the first referendum proposal in over 20 years. This special edition of our newsletter focusses on issues and events around the referendum – there is lots happening. In particular, we hope you can join us for the Walk for Yes – Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September – details below.

ANTaR ACT position

The referendum comes after many years of campaigning and discussion. The injustices from colonisation are unresolved, the devastating impacts ongoing. A Yes vote will not suddenly transform the situation, but can give hope of moving towards a better, fairer future.

Within ANTaR ACT, we acknowledge a variety of opinions, particularly those who say the Voice is not enough. As a committee, we decided to campaign for Yes, as the outcome that will help bring the changes we are seeking.

We’ve put together a statement of the reasons ANTaR ACT committee members have given for voting Yes – below is a summary. For the full statement, see: Reasons for Yes – ANTaR ACT.

Yes23 happenings

Now that the date has been announced, the intensity of events and discussion has increased. Volunteers are talking to people at stalls around the region, as well as through door knocking and phone calls. To help out, you can connect with the local groups, Local Yes Groups – Yes23, check the Yes23 event list, Events – Voice to Parliament (, or join one of the other opportunities listed here.

Kerstin and fellow volunteer at Jerrabomberra shopping centre

Help is needed for letterboxing in Yass, Queanbeyan, Googong and Jerrabomberra – leaflets can be collected from  the Yes23 Office within The Tradies Club in Dickson (near Unions ACT Office)  or  21 Monaro St, Queanbeyan.

Social media: You can help out by following Yes campaign social media pages, and by updating your profile picture – see details here: Yes23: Generate Your Profile Picture – Selfie generator. Facebook pages to follow, like and share: ACT ANTaR | FacebookANTAR | Australia | FacebookYes23 | FacebookThe Uluru Statement from the Heart | Facebook.

Donate: to Yes23 Donations or the Uluru Dialogues at UNSW.

Hand out How to Vote cards at pre-polling centres for the 2 weeks leading up to the referendum. If you can help, please contact the Yes23 campaign in your local electorate: Southern Canberra for Yes, Fenner (North Canberra) for Yes or Central Canberra for Yes. It’s easy and quite fun!

Walk for Yes – Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September

Join supporters around Australia to Walk for Yes and help us show how many people – from all walks of life – will be voting Yes later this year! Everyone is welcome. Bring your friends, family, neighbours and colleagues. This is our chance to be part of something big!

Saturday 16 September: Queanbeyan’s Walk for Yes – starts at 11am in the Town Park, walk through town and over three bridges, end in the park with music and sausage sizzle!  RSVP: National Day of Action: Walk for Yes in Queanbeyan – Yes23.

Sunday 17 September: Walks for Yes in Canberra and Goulburn – RSVP for the event near you – details will be provided closer to the day.

The 20th Anniversary Long Walk for Recognition and a Voice
Welcome Michael Long to Canberra after walking from Melbourne. His original walk was in 2004. After the news that the Howard government would be abolishing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), Long trekked 650 kilometres to the capital to pose a question to the then-prime minister: ‘Where is the love for Aboriginal people?’. Michael Long has brought forward his 20th anniversary walk to support the proposed Indigenous Voice to Parliament. Follow the walk via Facebook (The Long Walk | Melbourne VIC | Facebook), and read more on NITV: AFL legend Michael Long is walking from Melbourne to Canberra, with a simple message on the Voice | SBS NITV.
WHEN: Thursday 14 September
DETAILS and RSVP: The Long Walk

A conversation about the Voice to Parliament – Braidwood
Join Yuwaalaraay musician and writer Nardi Simpson and Senator David Pocock for a conversation about the Referendum and the Voice to Parliament, with MC Michael Crosby.
WHEN: Saturday 9th September, 11am – 12:30pm (refreshments and conversation to follow)
WHERE: National Theatre, 100 Wallace Street, Braidwood
RSVP: A conversation about the Voice to Parliament – Yes23

Behind the campaign – interview with our local coordinator

Rob Baillieu is our ACT Yes23 Coordinator and the National Organising Support Officer for the Yes23 Campaign. Rob has been doing an amazing job to bring together hundreds of keen volunteers to campaign around Canberra and the wider southern NSW region. He took some time out to answer a few questions for us.

Rob at the Linked Hands for Yes event on 26 August

Why did you join the Yes23 campaign?
I joined the campaign after Peter Dutton announced he was going to vote No. I realised Indigenous Australians were going to go through the same hurt and pain of a public trial that Queer Australians went through with Marriage Equality. The idea that they might do that without the solidarity and support of every Australian was unacceptable to me. So I put my hand up to contribute.

What got you interested in activism?
Marriage Equality taught me that democracy isn’t a spectator sport. Your rights and the wellbeing of your community are always on the line. If you want a better world you have to fight for it.

Top 3 tips on campaigning
The secret to a successful campaign and a powerful conversation is to be positive, informative, and polite. If an undecided voter’s only impression of the campaign is “someone knocked on my door, treated me with respect, gave me a flyer, and was very friendly” then often that is all it takes to get them across the line.

More information – if you don’t know, find out!

There is a lot of information and commentary around about the referendum – can all be confusing when trying to weigh the issues and make a decision.

We’ve pulled together a range of resources and articles on our website, with a range of perspectives: Learning about the Uluru Statement and 2023 Referendum – ANTaR ACT. We have just updated this page and will continue to add more resources. Recent updates include:

How to vote in the referendum

  • In person: A web tool to find your nearest early voting centre or polling place will be available closer to the voting period. Check the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) website or Canberra Times in late September for locations. See Referendum 2023 – Vote in person ( for more information.
    • Pre-polling will start in Canberra & NSW on 3 October (with the public holiday on 2 October) and be open up to polling day.
    • On polling day, Saturday, October 14, polls will be open from 8am to 6pm, local time. 
  • Postal voting is available for anyone not able to make it to vote in-person. Postal vote applications will open shortly and remain open until 6pm on Wednesday 11th October 2023. Check the AEC website for more information: Referendum 2023 – Postal voting (
  • Other: the AEC website also has information about provisions for people who are overseas (Referendum 2023 – Overseas voting (, residential care facilities, prisons, homeless shelters and other situations.

Finally – ANTaR ACT Committee

We welcome anyone to join us in organising activities and discussing current issues at our monthly online meeting, with the next on Monday 11 September at 6pm. Email us at to find out how you can get involved or get a link for our monthly meeting.

Authorised for ANTaR ACT by Janet Hunt, Dickson, ACT.

ANTaR ACT wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which Canberra is situated, the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people. We wish to acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region. We would also like to acknowledge other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may visit this area.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.