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‘Start a Yarn’ campaign for Voice to begin Saturday

Callan Morse -

The authors of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and other First Nations leaders have launched the 'Start a Yarn' campaign ahead of the upcoming Voice Week of Action, which begins Saturday.

The national program invites the Australian public to participate in online Yarning Circles to increase awareness and understanding of the First Nations Voice ahead of the referendum.

Uluru Dialogue Co-Chair Professor Megan Davis said the yarning circles will provide the Australian public with the information they need to Start a Yarn with their families, friends and workmates.

"Many Australians have heard the Voice being discussed in the national conversation but don't know much about the Dialogue process or the 12-year journey to a referendum," Professor Davis said.

The Balnaves Chair in Constitutional Law at the University of New South Wales said after listening to those heavily involved in the development of the Uluru Statement, many Australians agree with the need for a Voice to parliament for First Nations peoples.

"Start a Yarn provides an opportunity for Australians to hear directly from the architects of the Uluru Dialogues about the process that led to a grassroots consensus from First Nations Peoples on the need for an enshrined Voice," Professor Davis.

"We find that when people learn the background of the Voice and listen to First Peoples share why they think the Voice will make a difference, the overwhelming majority are very supportive."

Start a Yarn sessions will commence from Saturday 18 February and run intensively during the Voice Week of Action, then on demand until the referendum.

Professor Davis said that voters deserve the opportunity to learn about the Voice in a respectful way.

"It's important as we move towards a referendum, we give Australians every chance to learn about the Voice in a mutually respectful space. That's why we are hosting these Start a Yarn sessions," she said.

"This is a really exciting time for both First Nations Peoples and the wider Australian public. It's a real opportunity for us to come together and take a step toward a brighter future for the whole country."

Uluru Dialogue Co-Chair Pat Anderson AO said Start a Yarn offers Australians the chance to hear how the proposal for the Voice came about through the Uluru Statement, and how it will help unite the nation.

"Through Start a Yarn, we hope to be able to give people a better understanding of what the Voice is all about while also providing a genuine cultural experience," she said.

Although a recent EC-Newgate Research poll suggested support for the Voice has reduced by six per cent in the last nine months, Mr Anderson said sentiment for an enshrined Indigenous Voice to Parliament is high amongst First Nations Australians.

"According to a recent poll, eighty per cent of First Peoples support a First Nations Voice," Ms Anderson said.

"We're committed to doing everything we can to provide the Australian people with the information they need to make an informed choice.

"We're asking the public to walk with us on this journey to constitutional reform."

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