Kamahl says he will be voting No in Voice referendum as he posts a meme changing the lyrics of John Farnham’s most famous song
Australian entertainer Kamahl has said he will be voting No in the upcoming referendum on the Voice to Parliament.
The Malaysian-born entertainer, 88, who rose to fame in Australia said he didn’t understand what the advisory body would mean for the country.
He also shared a meme of John Farnham‘s song You’re The Voice, which is now the soundtrack for the Yes campaign, but changed the lyrics to reflect his personal opinion.
‘What’s the voice, I just don’t understand it. It’s just noise and it’s not clear. Vote no-o-oh-oh,’ the meme shared by Kamahl read.
‘We’re not going to vote apartheid. We don’t want one race privilege. Vote no-o-oh-oh.’
Along with the meme, Kamahl said he was voting No because ‘I don’t understand all of it’.
‘If you really want to know why I’m voting NO, is because of ‘What is Australia to me?’ It’s the song I recorded in 1988, but nobody listened!’ he said in a follow-up tweet.
‘Please listen to it now. It’s not too late! It’s on YouTube!!!’
Kamahl said his ‘neighbours down the street’ and the ‘smiling faces that I meet’ was what Australia meant to him in the 1988 track.
‘The children in the playground and Christmas in the sun, the G’day and the handshake is Australia to me,’ he sung.
‘The people who just came here from nations all around.
‘Those who built this country, the air of feeling free. The right to speak your own mind is Australia to me … and the dreaming of the people who’ve been here a million years.
‘I love this sunburnt country, so vital, young and free, with a promise of tomorrow – that’s Australia to me.
‘But especially the people – that’s Australia to me.’
Kamahl’s opinion sparked fierce debate online, with many saying they were ‘disappointed’ with the singer’s posts.
‘Wow, the fact that you’re trying to get YouTube views as part of this discussion is absolutely abhorrent,’ one person replied.
‘So you want me to listen to your voice but not to an Indigenous Voice. Yeah Nah!’ said another.
‘Of all people you should be voting yes, very disappointing,’ said another.
‘Kamahl I’ve always had respect for you, but I’m sorry but that’s just not good enough. You are a smart person, find out,’ one Twitter user said.
Others applauded Kamahl on his stance, with one saying they were happy a ‘national treasure’ was voting No.
Kamahl replied to one Yes voter, saying he respected their choice.
‘Unfortunately we humans believe far too much, like 90%, but KNOW less than 10%. Religion is built on BELIEF with some 4000 Books. There’s only ONE on Science. I believe I need a Drink,’ Kamahl replied.
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, Kamahl admitted he was not fully educated on the Voice and said it was possible he could change his mind.
‘I must confess I might go back and do some more homework on it before finally voting, I’ve been a bit lazy,’ he said.
‘I was being slightly flippant because of the song, I’ve known John (Farnham) since 1971 and I was a bit surprised the song was used – if it was used with his full knowledge or if he was conned into giving it.’
Kamahl said he would like to sit down with someone who was across both sides of the argument so he could make an informed decision.
‘What’s there and what’s not there I don’t know. I don’t know if they’re creating something out of nothing,’ he said.
‘I don’t think there is any doubt about needing more inclusivity for Indigenous people but I don’t know if this is the way to do it.
‘It is very political but I don’t want to be caught up in a political storm. The answer is in the (What is Australia to me) song.’
As well as his decades-long music career which saw him perform on stages like the Opera House and Big Day Out, Kamahl also had stints on television, and appeared on the comedy skit show Hey Hey It’s Saturday in the 1980s.
Kamahl later came out to say he felt ‘humiliated’ by some of the racist gags on the beloved program.
‘There were a number of instances where I felt humiliated, but I didn’t want to raise any objections or protest about it,’ he said.
He explained he coped with it by smiling and ‘pretending everything was ok’, not wanting to ruin his own career.
A montage of some of the most controversial Hey Hey gags involving Kamahl was shared on social media, drawing reactions mostly in support of the singer.
One skit showed an assistant rushing at Kamahl and covering his face with white powder, before a voice off screen yells: ‘You’re a real white man now Kamahl, you know that?’
Earlier this year Kamahl demanded ABC broadcaster Phillip Adams publicly apologise for labelling him an ‘honorary white’.
Kamahl said he felt ‘humiliated’ by Adams after the longtime ABC radio presenter claimed cricketing great Don Bradman treated the Malaysian-born entertainer as an ‘honorary white’ in a since-deleted tweet.
In a widely-shared post in December, Adams contrasted Bradman’s 13-year friendship with Kamahl with his reluctance to meet former South African president Nelson Mandela.
‘Clearly, Kamahl, [Bradman] made you an Honorary White. Whereas one of the most towering political figures of the 20th century was deemed unworthy of Bradman’s approval,’ Adams wrote.
Kamahl responded to Adams on Twitter by saying ‘You may be white, but oh your soul is black!’