Thousands of Australians are preparing to “walk for yes” at events across the country.
The ‘yes’ campaign for an Indigenous voice in the constitution will hold more than 40 mass walks in every capital city and regional centres with rock legends to lend their own voices to the chorus of supporters.
Paul Kelly, Peter Garrett, Dan Sultan, Missy Higgins, Bernard Fanning, Spiderbait and John Butler will perform over the weekend.
Garrett, the Midnight Oil frontman, took to social media to encourage Australians to join in the marches.
“I’ll be performing acoustically, as Music for the Voice forms to publicly show support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices in the upcoming referendum,” he wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Yes23 campaign director Dean Parkin said the weekend – which marks the start of a parliament-free run up until voting day – would be a unifying moment for the ‘yes’ camp.
“We are a people-powered campaign and this will be on show over the weekend as Australians from all walks of life show their support for a ‘yes’ vote,” he said.
“Australians will walk together this weekend just as we are asking them to walk together with us on October 14 to recognise, listen and deliver better outcomes for Indigenous people.”
The tail end of the final parliament sitting week before the referendum was dominated by accusations of racism being levelled across the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ camps as both blamed the other for trying to divide the nation.
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has pledged to hold a second referendum purely addressing constitutional recognition if elected but somewhat walked back his comments on Friday.
He said he didn’t necessarily want a second vote, but was looking for reconciliation.
“I don’t believe people, if they vote ‘no’ on October 14, are voting against helping Indigenous Australians,” the Liberal leader said.
“I don’t believe they’re voting against recognising Indigenous Australians in the constitution, but they are voting against the voice.
“Nobody wants a second referendum, we want this referendum to be a unifying not a dividing moment.”
But Prime Minister Anthony Albanese says a unifying moment lies ahead of the nation if they accept the hand that has been outstretched by Indigenous Australians and listen to what they’re asking for – a voice that cannot be erased by successive governments.
The referendum will ask voters whether they want to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by enshrining an Indigenous consultative body in the constitution.
The make-up and operation of the body will then be determined by parliament if the vote is successful and will not be able to veto government decisions or legislation.