Legendary music figure John Farnham as he appears in the Uluru Dialogue's new "yes" campaign.
THE ULURU DIALOGUE – the architects of the Uluru Statement – have launched their new film, You’re the Voice, pairing John Farnham’s iconic song with transformative moments in Australia’s history to galvanise support for its YES campaign on the referendum for a First Nations Voice.
As the next iteration of the History Is Calling campaign, the new film is a direct call to action to remind Australians they have a chance to change history for the better.
The film starts in the 1980s - at the time the now iconic song was released - and follows a family through the years as they witness several key moments which are now forged in our collective memory playing out on their TV screen: the 1967 referendum, the Mabo decision, America’s Cup, the Uluru handback, Cathy Freeman’s gold medal, the 1996 gun reform, the 2008 apology and the marriage equality plebiscite.
The Uluru Dialogue team addressed the media in Melbourne about their brand new campaign ad which features John Farnham's iconic "You're The Voice" song. (Image credit: Ben Fry / The Uluru Dialogue)
Professor Megan Davis, Cobble Cobble woman and Co-Chair of the Uluru Dialogue, said the purpose of the film is to mobilise the nation and motivate people to support the Voice as the next chapter in Australia’s history.
“You’re The Voice is the nation’s unofficial anthem. I was in primary school when it was released and, as a young girl, instantaneously felt the power of its message about agency and walking together. It is an empowering message,” Professor Davis said.
“History isn’t just something we witness and observe, but something we ourselves can influence. And now we all have a voice in what happens at this critical moment, and we must use it.
“Through Australia’s history, we as a nation have debated and discussed major change on the grounds of fear and uncertainty. Whether it was Mabo and native title laws, Howard’s gun control laws, the apology to the stolen generations, or marriage equality… there are always fears for the worst. But time and time again, history has proven those fears were unfounded and we believe it will be the same with the Voice.
“We are proud to finally announce and launch the use of this iconic song and partnership between John Farnham and the Uluru Dialogue. The number one question Aussies have asked me for six years is: ‘Have you thought of Johnny Farnham and You’re The Voice?’.”
“We hope You’re The Voice will show Australians that we all have a role to play in making this referendum a success, and that it will inspire people to walk with us on this movement for a better future.”
The partnership sees John Farnham AO lending his voice to the Voice and says he hopes the song will help change the lives of First Nations Peoples. This is the first-time permission has ever been granted for its use in a commercial.
“This song changed my life. I can only hope that now it might help, in some small way, to change the lives of our First Nations Peoples for the better,” Mr Farnham said.
Tim Wheatley, John Farnham’s close friend and son of his manager Glenn Wheatley, said the iconic song is aligned with humanity and is a song for all Australians.
“You’re The Voice is not aligned with any political party. It is aligned with humanity. It’s a song for all Australians. Always has been, always will be,” Mr Wheatley said.
“Win or lose this referendum, this song will forever remain on the right side of history. Both John and my father have fiercely protected this song’s use for decades, I think for this very moment.”
Pat Anderson AO, Alyawarre woman and Co-Chair of the Uluru Dialogue, said she hopes the film will remind the nation of the historic opportunity we all have by voting YES for a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice and has urged the Australian public to get behind the movement.
“When it matters most, Australians show up for each other. You’re the Voice is archival proof of the people of this country using their voice to show up and stand on the right side of history. We’ve made history before and very soon we will have the chance to do it again,” Ms Anderson said.
“The Voice is a simple proposal. Listening leads to better decisions. This is a proposal supported by 83 per cent of First Peoples, because they know when we have a say, it means better outcomes for our communities for generations.”
The campaign was developed by The Monkeys, part of Accenture Song, alongside Professor Megan Davis and historian Professor Clare Wright OAM. It was produced by Photoplay and directed by Kaytetye man and award-winning feature film director and cinematographer Warwick Thornton. The film is the first commercial directed by Thornton.
“When asked to work on this project, I instantly said YES and it has been an honour. It has empowered me. I feel all the films I have made have been practice for this one very important and beautiful film,” Mr Thornton said.
Professor Wright OAM said as an historian, she knows history never “just happens”.
“History is made by people turning up at the turning points when their actions and their courage and their ambition matter most. History is not inevitable. We, the people, all make history. This campaign is a reflection of that truth.”