The Voice referendum has been made political. Politics are too often divisive without real discussion on topics that matter. To me the Voice is simpler, at the core of our identity as a Nation and one of deep emotion.

At the heart of it all, is a question each of us must reflect on deeply.

Do you believe we should be heard equally in Australia?

There’s a lot in that, and it’s deeply straightforward too.

We like to believe in a fair go. But we don’t always give it all that readily.

A fair go, and a Voice to people that know this place better than anyone else given their rich history before so many of us arrived at this place we love, that we now call Australia. Or, less of a fair go, less of a Voice? And the voice they’re seeking, is simply a voice on the topics and issues – the conversations – about them.

So, navigating the emotion and ideology and what’s right in that is relatively easy.

I’ll be voting Yes, because I believe we’re better where this country gives everyone a fairer go, a voice, where it is Ours, and not Mine.

Even though I’ve always loved this poem by Dorothea Mackellar, I think it can be richer with some tiny edits 100 years on (and no doubt much better than my hasty edit, but, you get the intent).

My Our Country

(Dorothea Mackellar, loosely adapted 2023, James Hancock)

The love of red earth, and the bluest oceans
Of deep green post wet-season rains
Of eucalypts and grevilleas
Needs to be shared amongst our veins

We can still love our sunburnt country
This land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains

We can still love her far horizons
We can still love her jewel sea
Her beauty and her terror
The wide brown land of we!

A place that isn’t ours alone,
With lessons for the ages
Now is the time to vote yes,
To change ill-written pages

Back through thousands of years, new lessons to the top
The future can look different
A yes vote means work doesn’t stop
And, there’s a new story to be made

Core of our heart, our country

A blue sky filled with hope
An ocean full of riches
With sand between our toes
Saltwater slowly mends the stitches

The shells in the park and yards, now given a voice for the ages.

Core of our heart, our country.
Voices we all need to hear.
Not only guided by assumptions or paternalism
Of some King that’s rarely here.

Leaving her shores is painful,
Yet that only amplifies her call
We have ideas and stories and communities
That are globally powerful, even if we’re small

This opal-hearted country,
A richly promised land –
Now we must truly love her fully,
And keep working to understand –

For Australia holds many splendours,
Richer together, where all are heard
Each of us of equal flesh and blood and thoughts
Our collective heart mended, our country.