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Expert Alert – The Voice to Parliament referendum – what happens now?

La Trobe University 4 mins read


Media Alert

Voice to Parliament referendum – Yes or No? What happens next?

Experts from La Trobe University are available to discuss the outcome of the Voice to Parliament referendum, the impact and what happens next.

Professor Clare Wright OAM

Professor of History and Public Engagement


0408 668 882

Clare Wright Profile | La Trobe University


Professor Wright is an award-winning historian and author, broadcaster and public commentator. She was a historical consultant on the Uluru Dialogue’s You’re the Voice ad featuring John Farnham’s iconic song and was one of the drivers behind an open letter signed by more than 350 historians around the nation calling for a yes vote.

*How will historians of the future look back on this moment? 

*What will the history books written in 2050 and 2123 have to say about this moment in time? 

*How will the story of the Voice referendum be written? How will our generation be judged?  Who will be the bad guys and the good guys? 

Recent commentary from Professor Wright:


Professor Andrea Carson

Professor of Political Communication Department of Politics, Media and Philosophy


Andrea Carson I La Trobe University       


Professor Carson has been conducting research with fellow political scientists to analyse referendum campaigning through social and mainstream media and polling data.

Recent commentary from Professor Carson:


Dr Madelaine Chiam

Associate Dean, learning and Teaching, La Trobe Law School


Madelaine Chiam I La Trobe University  


Dr Madelaine Chiam is Associate Professor and Associate Dean Learning and Teaching in the La Trobe Law School. She researches public international law, the histories of international law, the relationships between the global and the local, and the role of international law in Australian life.

Quotes attributable to Dr Madelaine Chiam:

“The Australian Constitution is, and should be, a living document. How can the Constitution adapt to the needs of modern Australia when a minority of the total number of voters can derail constitutional change, as long as they are distributed across a majority of the States?

“Whatever the outcome of the referendum, there are serious lessons here for how Australians think about other provisions of the Constitution. This is especially important where the Constitution does not reflect modern Australia, including for example some of the limits on who can become a member of Parliament in section 44.”

Recent commentary from Dr Chiam:                        


Professor Luis Eslava Arcila

Research Professor of International Law



Professor Luis Eslava is an award-winning researcher in international law, development and global governance and has been recently joined La Trobe to lead the Law School’s Research Group on International Law and Global Transformation.


Quotes attributable to Professor Eslava:

Yes: “If Yes is the preferred option in the Voice referendum, the Australian nation would embark on a long learning journey based on a common understanding that First Nations Peoples’ participation in public policy making is a basic democratic principle in the country. This is an overdue step towards the constitutional recognition of First Nations Peoples and of Australia’s respect of already biding international instruments related to Indigenous Peoples.”

NO: “If No is the preferred outcome, attention need to be directed towards ensuring that voting patterns, at the Federal and State level, are not instrumentalized in order to further disenfranchise First Nations peoples. Most of all, a defeat in the referendum should not be used as an opportunity to undermine the legitimate claims made by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples for direct representation.”


Emeritus Professor Dennis Altman

Vice Chancellor’s Fellow


Dennis Altman I La Trobe University       


Emeritus Professor Altman is a Vice Chancellor's Fellow and Professorial Fellow in the Institute for Human Security at La Trobe University. He was Visiting Professor of Australian Studies at Harvard in 2005 and listed by The Bulletin as one of the 100 most influential Australians ever. He can discuss the following topics:

*Why we need to better understand Indigenous dispossession and its continuing legacy

*What are the implications of the vote for the republican movement? Do they make it more likely the monarchy is safe?

Recent commentary from Emeritus Professor Altman:    


Dr Dominic Kelly


Dominic Kelly I La Trobe University         


Quotes attributable to Dr Kelly:

“There is a palpable sense of excitement on the Australian right about the potential for a No vote to lead to a wider transformation of Indigenous affairs, along the assimilationist lines advocated by Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price.

“They ignore the unique advantage the No campaign has enjoyed in focusing its opposition on a little-understood proposal requiring double majority support in a standalone referendum.”

“Elections will decide the future direction of Indigenous policy, and they are won and lost on a vast array of factors, not a single issue. But conservatives will also be confronted with the simple fact that the vast majority of Indigenous Australians reject assimilation and will continue their centuries-long fight for self-determination.”

Hearing Voice over the noise     

What a 20th Century German intellectual can tell us about the Voice debate                    



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