Indigenous Voice to Parliament: the must-watch list

Need an entry point into the Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum? Start here.

On Saturday, 14 October 2023, Australians will have their say in a referendum about whether to change the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing a body called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Voters will be asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on a single question:

A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

Do you approve this proposed alteration?

Despite its apparent simplicity, there is a lot of misinformation and confusion surrounding the idea of the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, meaning lots of people may be going to vote without an understanding of what it means.

We’ve prepared a must-watch list of documentaries, debates, news clips and explainers that will take you from dipping your toe in the issue to having a much better grasp of the facts.

In cinemas

Our Voice, Our Heart

New NT documentary Our Voice, Our Heart will mark its official world premiere at Darwin International Film Festival (DIFF) with a gala screening event on Sunday 17 September, followed by a Q&A.

Our Voice, Our Heart follows two Darwin locals, Tiwi man Jaxon De Santis and Warlpiri/Jawoyn man Justin Grant, who realise that if they have no idea what the Voice to Parliament means to them and their community, how are millions of Australians going to know? 

With the referendum only weeks away, now is the time for them to hit the road and find out. With the help of NT’s diverse First Nations Communities, they hope to find their voice and to help others find theirs.

This documentary follows their journey for answers, from getting the pitch straight up from Thomas Mayo at Barunga Festival, across the Top End, as they talk to Elders, Leaders, community members and family from communities in Nhulunbuy, Tiwi, Kalkarindji, Kakadu & Gunbalanya. 

Inspired by the knowledge gap between urban Australians and remote Communities ahead of the Referendum, and within the context which sees the NT statistically insignificant in the final count, Our Voice, Our Heart is a platform to listen to some of the people most affected, but whose votes will not carry weight in the tally*.

Our Voice, Our Heart is produced and co-directed by Trade Creative’s Laurens Goud, co-directed and co-produced by Justin Grant who also serves as the production’s Indigenous Consultant, and co-produced by Jaxon De Santis. 

SBS On Demand

You can stream the following series on SBS On Demand:

The Point

As Australia heads toward a Referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament, National Indigenous Television’s (NITV) current affairs program, The Point: Referendum Road Trip with John Paul Janke and Narelda Jacobs, is the home of First Nations perspectives informing all Australians in the lead up to the vote.

Living Black

Prolific journalist Karla Grant sits down with inspiring and influential people from home and overseas, to delve into issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and bring personal insight to extraordinary stories.

Bonus Explainers: What is a Referendum; What is a Treaty; What is the Voice to Parliament; Why some people are against it.

ABC iview

The following programs are being broadcast live on ABC TV and will be available to stream later on iView:

Four Corners – Monday 11 September at 8:30pm

Dan Bourchier travels to North, West and Eastern Australia asking what sovereignty/ self-determination means and looks like to First Nations people and where a Voice to Parliament fits with those visions. The story centres on two locations where working models of self-determination are operating – an Aboriginal-run community model in far western NSW, and the seven-year-old South West Native Title Agreement, also knowns as the Noongar Treaty, in Perth. The story opens at this year’s Garma Festival.

Voices of Australia – starting Sunday 17 September at 6.30pm on ABC TV and ABC iview

In four half-hour episodes, ABC News tells the story of Australia as it considers this Constitutional change.

With stories from around the country, from contributors including Voice Correspondent Dan Bourchier, Europe Correspondent Isabella Higgins and Indigenous Affairs Editor Bridget Brennan.

Amid distrust, skepticism and misinformation, this series aims to bridge knowledge gaps with entertaining, engaging, and informative stories.

From the team behind Planet America and China Tonight, in collaboration with the Indigenous Affairs team, this series will focus on communities to show how the Referendum campaign and result will ultimately redefine how Australia views itself in 2023.

Q+A – Monday 9 October 

A Voice to Parliament-focused Q+A, broadcast live from the swing state of South Australia.

The Voice Referendum Explained podcast + vodcast (launched August 23)

Fran Kelly and Quandamooka woman Carly Williams will cut through the noise surrounding the upcoming referendum in this new podcast and give you the information you need when it’s time to vote. New episodes will be available every Wednesday morning on the ABC listen app, ABC iview and YouTube.

Referendum Explained – social media series (Instagram/TikTok) from August 30

@abcnewsaus Here’s what you need to know about the referendum. #VoiceToParliament #Aboriginal #Indigenous #AusPol #ABCNews ♬ original sound – ABC News Australia

The video series for Instagram and TikTok will help build Australians’ understanding of how referendums and the voting system work, the different stances of the Yes and No organisations, and what they need to know throughout the campaign.

Guardian Australia

Indigenous voice to parliament explained: what is it and how would it work?

There has been a lot of talk about the referendum on the Indigenous voice to parliament being held later this year. But what happens if it is successful? What is the Voice and how would it work? The Guardian’s Indigenous affairs reporter Sarah Collard explains what we know so far about how the Albanese government hopes to enshrine an Indigenous voice in the constitution and what it means for all Australians.

Voice to parliament described as ‘worthless’ by leaders of Blak sovereignty movement

Independent senator Lidia Thorpe brought a dozen members of the Blak sovereignty movement to parliament, all of whom expressed deep reservations about and strong opposition to the proposed Indigenous voice.

Channel 10/10 Play

Voice To Parliament Opposition – The Project

The Federal Opposition is ramping up calls for more detail on what an Indigenous Voice to Parliament would actually look like, ahead of this year’s referendum. But, do they know what they want to ensure it’s successful? Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians Julian Leeser joins The Project to discuss.

Channel 9

Will the Voice to Parliament fix First Nations issues? – 60 Minutes

The proposed Voice to Parliament is mired in complication and confusion, with fear being used to fuel its almost certain failure. As Amelia Adams reports, instead of being history-making, the referendum is set to be nation-dividing. So how and why did it get to this?

The Australian

How the Indigenous voice to parliament will work, according to Noel Pearson 

The Cape York leader and proponent for the Yes campaign, answered questions about the structure, model and absence of clarity about how the voice to parliament, if successful in the referendum, will operate.

Sky News

‘That’s why I will be voting no’: Jacinta Price gives speech before Senate vote on Voice

CLP Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price gave a speech to the Upper House ahead of a vote to pass the Voice to Parliament referendum bill. Ms Price said Australia will be ‘further divided’ if a Voice is enshrined in the constitution. ‘I want to see Australia move forward as one,’ she told Parliament on Monday. ‘That’s why I will be voting no.’

Silvi Vann-Wall is a journalist, podcaster, and filmmaker. They joined ScreenHub as Film Content Lead in 2022. Twitter: @SilviReports