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Yes23, an Interview with Dean Parkin

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

Co-authors of 'The Voice to Parliament Handbook', Thomas Mayo and local legend, journalist Kerry O’Brien spoke powerfully about recognition of First Nations people in our country’s 122 year-old constitution at the Byron Theatre.

Yes23 Campaign Alliance Director Dean Parkin
Yes Campaign Alliance Director, Dean Parkin

The conversation was facilitated by academic Julianne Schwartz who said that the Uluru statement from the heart was “the greatest example of deliberative democracy this country has ever seen.”

But the culture wars are hard at play between intellectuals and people who distrust that kind of deep thinking. As Mayo said “It’s a Battle between fear and courage.”

Dean Parkin is a Quandamooka man from the Moreton Bay area in Southeastern Queensland and he’s also the director of the Yes Campaign Alliance. He came to Splendour in the Grass to talk to the 35,000 or so young music fans about why they should get involved.

Hear my interview with Dean Parkin, discussing the Yes23 campaign..

The most recent poll shows 83% support from Indigenous Australians for constitutional recognition through a Voice to Parliament, which of course doesn’t preclude more advancements in the important areas of housing, justice, and infrastructure for indigenous Australians in the future.

But as Kerry O’Brien said, there has been a lot of confusion around the vote, largely due to journos not reporting responsibly. It reminds me a bit of the climate debate where opposition to progressive action is whipped up by the media who reports on both sides equally, even though the opposing point of view is fundamentally flawed.

It’s pretty basic; the invitation is there for the 96% of us who are not indigenous, to walk forward with First Nations Australians and discover what fairness in this nation might look like.


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