Pearson drops in on Traralgon

Engage: Kristy Quail, owner of The Source Bulk Foods Traralgon giving Noel Pearson (right) and Committee for Gippsland chief executive Tony Cantwell a tour of her shop. Photographs: Katrina Brandon



SAVE the date! October 14 is the day Australians will decide on whether there should be an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

But what does that mean?

October 14 is “an opportunity for us to finally fix one missing piece of our constitution and that is the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people,” according to Yes 2023 campaigner, Noel Pearson.

The Voice is so that Indigenous people can have the opportunity to speak to parliament and voice their opinions. Parliament and the government don’t have to take it on, they just have to consider and listen to the Voice.

In support of the campaign, Noel Pearson made a trip down to Traralgon, Morwell and Warragul on Monday September 4.

During his visit to Traralgon, he met up with Tony Cantwell, chief executive of Committee for Gippsland. He walked through local business The Source Bulk Foods store, where he conversed with owner Kirsty Quail and Mr Cantwell.

Shortly after followed a press conference in Kay Street and a meeting with Latrobe leaders talking about what they can do and what else can be done to further other opportunities in the future. The meeting took place at Latrobe Community Health Services.

In the press conference held with ABC, WIN and the Express, Mr Pearson said the Voice is not a political issue but it is for all of Australians’ futures.

“This is not a political issue, this is for country people and city people, this is for Liberals and for Labor, for Greens and for One Nation voters,” Mr Pearson said.

He explained that he was going around and sharing what the referendum was with communities and leaders urging people to make their decision and to learn more about the Voice.

“I’m out there urging the importance of the opportunity and getting Australians to think about their choice,” he said.

“My message is that this is a crucially important vote. I would urge that you consider this in conversations with fellow Australians. Have real conversations with real people. Not much is going to be illuminating in the crevasse of social media where you don’t know if you are talking to a bot.

“Jobs, health, education and all of the good things that Indigenous people need. That’s what the Voice will speak to.”

Currently, the Yes 2023 campaign has 30,000 volunteers as of the week of Monday, August 28. Mr Pearson said that this is the largest volunteer movement in the history of the country. The volunteers are there to talk to communities and individuals on what there is to the Voice.

In the interview, Mr Pearson mentioned that with six weeks until voting, people have time to learn about it and make their own decision on what it is.

“The federal government, Anthony Albanese, the PM has simply done what Indigenous people have asked to happen over the last 10 years,” Mr Pearson said.

“This is not the government’s idea, this has come from Indigenous people. We have sought this recognition.

“Now is our time to grow.”

For more information on the Voice, go to or

Voice: Yes 2023 campaigner Noel Pearson in Traralgon last week.