Partners and Community Listen, Learn, Share What happens after the referendum?

What happens after the referendum?

Many Australians agree that First Nations people should have a say in matters that affect them. Proponents of both the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ positions agree that the Government needs to listen to and act with First Nations people.

The outcome of the referendum will impact on how First Nations people can have a say. After the referendum, regardless of the outcome, Australians will need to work through the implications and mechanisms that will be available to listen, to learn and to act.

We will be a different country.  What is Australia like when it is at its very best?

Profile picture of Martin Nakata.

“A Voice would make a significant difference to the education priorities in our region.

We do great work in the region with communities and schools, and the success we have had shows that when we work together at the local level, we can improve the academic performance of Indigenous students in schools as well as universities. Today, because of this joined-up work at the local level, we have more Indigenous students enrolled in and graduating with degrees at James Cook University than ever before, and we are capable of doing much more.

Our issue is that Canberra does not always see our successes in the region, or hear our ongoing frustrations with short term project funding arrangements and how this works against long term, systemic changes, essentially slowing down our progress in the region.

After 40 years of working in communities on education priorities, I see the Voice Referendum as a once in a lifetime opportunity to make changes to the way Canberra responds to our local and regional priorities.”

Professor Martin Nakata AM

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Indigenous Education and Strategy

James Cook University

Listen, learn and share

When Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are involved in decisions that affect themselves and their communities there are positive outcomes:

Speaking Health

See the difference GP registrars make working on Country with Gidgee Healing:

Graduate Jasmine Kennel. Two recent JCU Speech Pathology graduates, Jasmine Kennell and Morgan Appleby, are using their skills as well as their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds to make a difference to the health services they are now working in. Read more

Speaking education

Professor Simon Biggs, Professor Martin Nakata and Associate Professor Sana Nakata recently wrote an opinion piece in The Australian signalling that more must be done so Indigenous students are ready to succeed at university. Read more


Tamara Sam and daughter. High school teacher Tammy Sam knows first-hand how brightly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are capable of shining. However, with much of the research in this area focused on identifying gaps and challenges, she was determined to take a different approach. Read more

Speaking environment

JCU is home to a new Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Indigenous and Environmental Histories and Futures, aiming to bring Indigenous and environmental histories to the forefront of land and sea management. Read more


Alice Buhrich and Brian Bing. JCU Adjunct Research Fellow Dr Alice Buhrich and Brian Bing, an Ewamian Elder, joined together to explore the hidden secrets of the Undara lava tubes and at nearby Talaroo Hot Springs. Read more