Australian music icon Paul Kelly performed his new song "If Not Now" at The Corner Hotel in Richmond. (Image credit: Ben Fry / The Uluru Dialogue)
The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria is a long way from Uluru, but the two landmarks had something special in common at an energy-filled Father’s Day night event for the ages.
The pub was chosen to host the official launch of The Uluru Dialogue’s new John Farnham-inspired “You’re the Voice” campaign ad, put on by Talent Works and The Uluru Dialogues.
Television personality and comedian Rove McManus was MC for the "You're the Voice" ad campaign launch event. (Image credit: The Uluru Dialogue)
The public had been teased about the ad from very early Sunday morning, with Breakfast TV shows wasting no time past the embargo to share the brief video snippet and still shots which had been sent their way in the hours before.
It was finally happening. As Aussies, we all thought it was a no-brainer – why don’t they use ‘You’re the Voice’ to promote the Voice?
First Nations people, music and entertainment icons, backers, well-wishers, campaign professionals and the media packed The Corner to see history play out. And it was happening on a number of fronts.
Aunti Di performed an emotional Welcome to Country at the launch. (Image credit: Ben Fry / The Uluru Dialogue)
Television legend Rove McManus both relaxed and pumped the crowd up at the same time, with his famous blend of Aussie charm and wicked humour, introducing Aunti Di, who performed an emotional and deeply heart-felt Welcome to Country.
He took us behind the production process and the emotional journey of the Farnham and Wheatley families as using the song for the campaign looked more and more every day like it would become a reality. Gaynor and Tim Wheatley offered unique insights, while John’s son, Rob, reassured us his dad was doing okay in his own personal health journey.
Melbourne-based Indigenous singer-songwriter Jess Hitchcock opened the music performances for the night. Aussie music god Paul Kelly, whose family grew up with Uluru Dialogue Co-Chair Professor Megan Davis and her siblings in southern Brisbane back in the 80s, was also there to play his new track “If Not Now”.
Indigenous singer and songwriter Jess Hitchcock was a hit at The Corner Hotel. (Image credit: Ben Fry / The Uluru Dialogue)
The Uluru Dialogue Co-Chairs Professor Megan Davis and Pat Anderson AO accompanied the Uluru Statement from the Heart painting on stage. (Image credit: Ben Fry / The Uluru Dialogue)
Professor Davis and Pat Anderson AO and a host of Uluru Youth Dialogue signatories – who took a break from their roaring “Voice” merch trade at the back of the room - then took to the stage holding aloft the very Uluru Statement from the Heart painting which was signed following the Uluru Convention at The Rock in 2017.
After the full version of the new ad was finally revealed to the gathering, guests across the room collapsed into the chests of their plus-ones, tears rolled down cheeks, the younger brigade “yeahed!” and even hardened music industry types applauded until their hands hurt.
Proud Gamilaraay man and international music sensation Mitch Tambo closed off the night with a smashing performance of the anthem itself "You're the Voice" in traditional language, putting on a booming, epic show for the ages, thanks to the Farnham band who were in fine form.
(Left to right) Gaynor Wheatley, Rob Farnham and Tim Wheatley joined Rove for a behind the scenes chat about how "You're the Voice" came to be used for the campaign for a "yes" result at the upcoming referendum. (Image credit: Ben Fry / The Uluru Dialogue)
The Corner Hotel will go down in history as a site strongly linked to the campaign for a “yes” result at the 2023 referendum. In his legendary song, John Farnham told listeners “you’re the voice”.
Having been a strictly embargoed project for several weeks, it’s the Australian public’s ad now, theirs to freely share as they please. Every reposting, linked shared, like and subscribe will go a long way to spreading the word from here, and securing a “Yes” result on October 14.
Superstar Mitch Tambo rocked away with the Farnham Band to close an epic night. (Image credit: Ben Fry / The Uluru Dialogues)