Top Yes campaigner Tanya Hosch reveals her leg amputation hell to argue how the Voice would ‘make things better’
This is the powerful moment a tearful Yes campaigner opened up about recently losing her leg to diabetes – before claiming things might have been different had Indigenous Australians had a Voice to Parliament.
Tanya Hosch, an Indigenous activist and the second woman ever to be appointed an executed position in the AFL, addressed the audience at the official launch of the Yes campaign in Adelaide on Wednesday lunchtime.
Ms Hosch, 53, who was speaking directly after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had revealed the date of the Voice referendum will be October 14, approached the lectern on a wheelchair before slowly standing to rapturous applause from the crowd.
A visibly emotional Ms Hosch spoke of the ‘poisonous legacy of our voicelessness’, before reeling off a list of areas, including child development, suicide and disease rates, where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Australians lag far behind their non-Indigenous counterparts.
She then stunned the audience by sharing a ‘deeply personal and real story about this data’.
‘A little over two weeks ago, I had my lower right leg amputated and so having left hospital only yesterday, I’m standing here on one leg today,’ said a visibly emotional Ms Hosch.
Once the applause died down, she told the audience she was ‘not clapping because I don’t know how much longer I can do it’.
‘I have type two diabetes and I contracted a related disease that I have battled for three years and across six surgeries trying to avoid the loss of my limb,’ she explained.
‘I’m not without privilege and access to services, but still the service design let me down.
‘I know that if we already had a permanent Voice in place, there would be people around that table that understand my story, my experience and what could make things better and different for me and for people like me.’
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are almost four times more likely than non-Indigenous Australians to have diabetes, according to Diabetes Australia.
Ms Hosch, who was voted South Australian of the year in 2021, argued that the No campaign only offered the status quo which was ‘not acceptable’.
We can close gaps and make better policies by giving communities a voice, by doing something simple, by listening to the voices of communities who know the problems they face and the solutions they need,’ said Ms Hosch.
‘It is common sense that has escaped generations of non-indigenous decision-makers.’
Moments before Ms Hosch took the stage, Mr Albanese ended months of speculation by confirming Aussies will head to polling booths across the nation on October 14.
‘On that day, every Australian will have a once in a generation chance to bring our country together… And to change it for the better,’ Mr Albanese told the audience.
‘On October 14 you are not being asked to vote for a political party or a person. You’re being asked to say yes to an idea whose time has come,’ he continued.
The Prime Minister warned that ‘Voting No means going nowhere’.
‘It closes the door on this opportunity to move forward. Don’t close the door on constitutional recognition… don’t close the door on the next generation of Indigenous Australians. Vote yes,’ Mr Albanese told the crowd, appearing almost tearful.
The question will be: ‘A proposed law: to alter the constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Do you approve this proposed alteration?’