After months of avid campaigning and intense public debate, Australians will head to their local primary schools and town halls this weekend to cast their votes for the Voice Referendum.
This week will see both the Yes and No campaigners make their final appeals, with events planned across the country and volunteers expected to make hundreds of phone calls and knock on doors in nearly every electorate.
As a DCA supporter, you likely already know the benefits of voting Yes (if you need a refresher, check out this blog). But as misinformation and concerning poll results continue to dominate the news cycle, it’s difficult not to feel disheartened.
However, what the polls also indicate is that between 20% and 30% of Australians are either undecided or “softly leaning” toward Yes or No.
Research from Yes23 has shown the “large majority” of those who feel undecided are actually leaning toward voting Yes, they just need something to get them over the line.
This group of persuadable individuals, what DCA calls the ‘mobile middle’ in our own research, are the best chance we’ve got at securing a Yes victory.
Individual action is now more important than ever. Taking the time to have conversations about the Voice to Parliament with our colleagues and friends is one of the most powerful things we can do to support the Yes campaign.
Here are five tips for having an effective conversation about the Voice Referendum:
Target the mobile middle
You are far more likely to convince somebody who is undecided or “softly leaning” to vote Yes than someone who is strongly opposed to the Voice.
While you can still have these discussions, it is more effective to focus your time and energy on those who will be more easily persuaded than somebody who has already made up their mind.
Listen as much as you speak
Ask open questions like “Do you have any initial thoughts on how you will vote?” or “What has informed your opinion on the Voice to Parliament?” and make sure you actively listen to what they have said before you respond.
Creating a space where the person you are speaking to feels they can air their concerns and feel heard without being judged will help create a more affirming conversation. Remember, if they feel heard they are more likely to listen.
Don’t assume they have all the facts
Many of those who are undecided or “soft” leaning feel don’t know enough about the Voice to make an informed decision.
With this in mind, reflect on why you’re voting Yes and commit a few key facts to mind using simple, everyday language before having these conversations.
It is important to approach this as a conversation rather than a debate. Make sure you enter these discussions with compassion and without judgment.
Sharing experiences and encouraging them to do the same, welcoming discussion, and creating an open space where the person you’re speaking to can voice their concerns will lead to a more productive conversation.
When we approach challenging conversations with a respectful mindset, we allow space to make the discussion a positive and unifying experience for all participants.
Check out these helpful resources to help you get started:
- DCA’s Yes! Campaign Resource Hub
- DCA’s Anna McPhee Memorial Oration featuring Professor Tom Calma AO
- Yes23’s Guide to talking about the Voice to Parliament
- voice.gov.au’s Conversation Guide
- Australian Human Rights Commission Voice Referendum Resource Kit
- Victorian Trades Hall Council’s Tips for Conversations about the Voice