The Guardian • Issue #2072

So much for the ‘Canberra Voice’!

The NSW vote is shaping up to be crucial for the Voice referendum, so members of the Canberra Branch decided to tour peripheral towns near Canberra, leafletting in Queanbeyan, Murrumbateman, Yass, and even as far as Brogo and Narooma.

The feeling in a lot of towns is positive, but for those who do feel friendly towards Yes, an old problem is coming back to bite: lack of local or alternative media in the regions.

Still, in Narooma for instance, streets are emblazoned with big support for Yes. Some pubs are going full on with the official Yes campaign. Given how badly the South Coast was treated by the Liberal government during the bushfires, progressivism is remarkably strong there. It’s of course true that the key will be the working classes of the big cities, and so far the migrant vote is looking good.

One Branch member, doing phone banking, noted that migrants were overwhelmingly warming towards Yes, some drawing connections between migrant and Indigenous experience. This remains a fight on multiple fronts, in regions and the cities; the Communist Party support for the Voice is an important one, an historical one. We recall the great Faith Bandler, leader in the 1967 referendum, also a communist: for Bandler, unequal pay and land rights, human rights, and constitutional rights, were comparable issues. For now, Faith gives us hope.

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