Cathy Freeman reveals her stance on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament

Sep 20, 2023
Cathy Freeman has announced her support for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. Source: Getty Images

The referendum on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament has its fair share of both supporters and detractors. As the referendum date approaches, more and more high-profile Australians have made their stances clear to the public.

Celebrity support for the Yes campaign has been strong, and one of Australia’s most renowned athletes has recently voiced her support for the Yes vote. Former world-famous Olympic sprinter Cathy Freeman appeared in a video urging all Australians to vote Yes on October 14th.

“I can’t remember a time when change has felt so urgent. When momentum has been so strong. From small towns to big cities, something is in the air. I know all Australians feel it too,” Freeman says in the video.

“And right now, each of us can be part of something that really matters. To stand together and to show our support for Australians who need it the most.

“To recognise Indigenous peoples in our constitution for the very first time, to give our kids the very best start in life, an equal start in life.

“And to open our hearts and change our future. I’m voting yes, and I am asking that all Australians do too. So please stand with me and write Yes on October 14.”

Since her retirement in 2003, Freeman has remained mostly out of the spotlight. She does not often appear on social media or make public statements on political issues. However, her now very public support for the Voice is not unprecedented.

Following her 400m sprint win at the 2000 Olympics, Freeman very visibly carried both the Australian flag and the Australian Aboriginal flag during her victory lap. This moment was seen by millions of people across the world and remains one of the most memorable moments of the 2000 Olympic Games.

Freeman now joins the list of high-profile Australians who have expressed their support of the Voice, a list which includes the likes of Cate Blanchett and John Farnham. Fellow athletes such as Jonathan Thurston, Ash Barty, and Adam Goodes have also previously offered their support to the Yes Campaign.

Despite the celebrity support, however, the Yes campaign overall has not managed to sway the public according to recent opinion polls. Since Anthony Albanese announced the referendum date at the end of August, support for the Voice has declined. The No vote is leading by a small and increasing margin and there remains a significant portion of the population that are undecided.

It remains to be seen what the result of Australia’s first referendum since 1999 will be.

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