What will a Voice to Parliament actually mean? Indigenous leader Thomas Mayo and legendary journalist Kerry O’Brien have worked together to write an accessible and engaging guide to this question. Whether you want to understand more about the Voice or would like some clear answers to share in conversations with others, this is a great opportunity to join an inspiring discussion of what our shared future can be. Amanda Collinge will host this session.
A Sydney Writers’ Festival Live & Local Livestream event.
ABOUT THOMAS MAYO
Thomas Mayo is a Torres Strait Islander man born on Larrakia country in Darwin. As an Islander growing up on the mainland, he learned to hunt traditional foods with his father and to island dance from the Darwin community of Torres Strait Islanders. In high school, Thomas’ English teacher suggested he should become a writer. He didn’t think then that he would become one of the first ever Torres Strait Islander authors to have a book published for the general trade. Instead, he became a wharf labourer from the age of seventeen, until he became a union official for the Maritime Union of Australia in his early thirties. Quietly spoken in character, Thomas found his voice on the wharves. As he gained the skills of negotiation and organising in the union movement, he applied those skills to advancing the rights of Indigenous peoples, becoming a signatory to the Uluru Statement from the Heart and a tireless campaigner. Following the Uluru Convention, Thomas was entrusted to carry the sacred canvas of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. He then embarked on an 18-month journey around the country to garner support for a constitutionally enshrined First Nations voice, and a Makarrata Commission for truth-telling and agreement-making or treaties. Thomas is the author of Finding The Heart of The Nation, Dear Son and the children’s books – Finding Our Heart and Freedom Day.
ABOUT KERRY O’BRIEN
Kerry O’Brien is one of Australia’s most respected journalists with six Walkley Awards including the Gold Walkley and the Walkley for outstanding leadership. In his decades at the ABC he reported for the trail-blazing current affairs programs This Day Tonight and Four Corners, presented Lateline for six years, 7.30 for fifteen years and Four Corners for five. In 2019 he was inducted into the television industry hall of fame. He has covered all the big historic Indigenous issues of his time, including land rights, deaths in custody, Mabo, the Stolen Generations’ inquiry, the birth and death of ATSIC, the intervention and the Uluru Statement from the Heart. He was a member of the Eminent Panel advising the Queensland Government on a path to treaty.