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Farnham faces backlash after ‘yes’ to Indigenous Voice campaign

Farnham's 'You're the Voice' for the Yes campaign

Source: Twitter/Uluru Dialogue

John Farnham is enduring a wave of backlash lending his iconic You’re the Voice hit to the yes campaign for an Indigenous Voice.

Farnham has been branded “a sellout” amid a bitter online debate after the Uluru Dialogue – the organisation dedicated to advancing the Uluru Statement – launched its three-minute ad pairing his anthemic song with transformative moments in Australian history in Melbourne on Sunday.

“Have lost any respect I had for Farnham. Total cop out. This song used to mean a lot to Australians. Now I hate it. Regardless, it won’t sway me. Still voting NO!” wrote one Facebook user.

“It seems like a desperate attempt on his part to remain relevant,” wrote another.

Over on X, the platform previously known as Twitter, was more anger at Farnham, who only a year ago enduring a mammoth operation for mouth cancer.

“Wow, what a complete PR disaster for John Farnham. [Farnham’s former manager] Glenn Wheatley will be turning in his grave,” wrote one user.

Another disgruntled Farnham fan said the 74-year-old singer was “dead to me”.

“How can you sell out the very people you represented? I’ll never listen to your music again – no doubt it’ll be flogged to death over the coming weeks, then never to be heard again,” they wrote.

It was revealed on Sunday that Farnham had given permission for You’re the Voice to be used by the Yes campaign.

“This song changed my life,” he said.

“I can only hope that now it might help, in some small way, to change the lives of our First Nations peoples for the better.”

Farnham’s management confirmed on Monday the singer had gifted his version of You’re the Voice to the Yes movement.

Wheatley’s son Tim, a close friend of Farnham, said Farnham’s team had “fiercely protected this song’s use for decades – I think for this very moment”.

You’re the Voice is not aligned with any political party. It is aligned with humanity. It’s a song for all Australians. Always has been, always will be,” Wheatley said.

“Win or lose this referendum, this song will for ever remain on the right side of history.”

Farnham isn’t the only rock legend lending his star power and voice to the Yes campaign. Singer-songwriter Paul Kelly wrote and released an original song, If Not Now, last week.

Dutton’s second referendum

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton’s declaration that a Coalition government would hold a second referendum to enshrine Indigenous recognition into the constitution if the Voice fails to pass has been blasted from all sides.

A Newspoll on Monday showed support for the Voice continuing to slide, falling to 38 per cent. Backing for the ‘no’ vote has risen to 53 per cent,

On Sunday, Mr Dutton revealed his plan for a second referendum. Defending the Coalition’s failure to push for constitutional recognition in almost 10 years of government, he said Australia wasn’t previously ready for the issue.

“We’re going to spend about $450 million to pose a question on October 14 that [PM Anthony Albanese] knows is going to fail,” he told Nine’s Today.

“I just don’t think he’s going to shift votes unless he gives the detail.”

But also on Today, Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie accused Mr Dutton of a misjudgment.

“I say to Peter Dutton: where’s the detail … You gobbed off, where’s the detail? You gobbed off, where’s the detail, how you’re gonna run this?” she said.

Tasmanian Liberal Bridget Archer said the No campaign might hurt plans for a future referendum, because of the “fear and division” in its campaign.

“Many No campaigners have also complained about the cost of this referendum as well, yet are advocating that they want to repeat the process,” she said.

Former shadow attorney-general Julian Leeser, who quit the Liberal frontbench to campaign in favour of the Voice, said he wanted an overal Yes vote on October 14.

“I know from my visits and conversations that Indigenous Australians want it to pass,” he said.

“Given it’s on the table, we should get this done now.”

Mr Albanese said a second referendum “could only possibly make sense if you’re Peter Dutton”.

“He’s already planning the sequel while doing everything he can to sabotage the original,” he said.

“For Peter Dutton, it’s always about the politics, never the substance.

However, Nationals leader David Littleproud said the majority of the nation would support constitutional recognition because “our country has grown over those nine years”.

“The Voice is a step too far because it’s just about more bureaucracy rather than a better one,” he said.

Labor was still talking up the October 14 vote, despite the disappointing polling. Cabinet minister Tony Burke said he was confident the referendum would succeed.

“Peter Dutton, I think, has underestimated the goodwill of a whole lot of Liberal voters here as well,” he told ABC radio on Monday.

“There’s a generosity in the Australian people and as people come closer to the date, focus their minds, look at the proposal, we see something where there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

-with AAP

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