'Ask Us First' by students in the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Voice to Parliament Clinic

‘Ask Us First’ is a student-led video project created by Monash Law students in the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Voice to Parliament Clinic 2023.

It is an impact initiative and educational resource produced by students, on the upcoming constitutional vote. 'Ask Us First' promotes an informed choice on the upcoming Voice referendum, inviting Australians to listen to the voices of First Nations people.

The Castan Centre Voice to Parliament Clinic gave Monash Law students a unique opportunity to work on real-world initiatives to educate, advocate and engage with the public around the upcoming constitutional referendum on establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. The Clinic ran for 12 weeks from May to August and was designed for students with an interest in human rights and social justice to learn human rights advocacy skills and contribute to human rights and legal advocacy in the context of this historic referendum.

'Ask Us First'
First Nations Leaders Answer Australia’s burning questions on the Voice to Parliament


Jill Gallagher AO
Proud Gunditjmara woman, CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), Former Treaty , Commissioner in Victoria

Jill Gallagher is a proud Gunditjmara woman from Western Victoria and is an accomplished and experienced strategic leader, championing the needs of the First Nations community. Jill has spent more than 20 years advancing Aboriginal health and wellbeing through her work with VACCHO and has over 30 years of experience in leadership roles. As a respected Aboriginal leader who has dedicated her life to advocating for Community, Jill has been inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women (2009), awarded the Order of Australia (2013), and inducted into the Victorian Aboriginal Honour Roll (2015). From 2016 to 2019, Jill served as Victoria’s first Treaty Advancement Commissioner. Jill received the degree of Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa by the University of Melbourne in 2023.

Professor Tristan Kennedy
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous) , William Cooper Institute, Monash University

Tristan Kennedy is a Professor and Pro Vice Chancellor (Indigenous) at Monash University. He is an Indigenous researcher interested in the emerging configurations of digital global citizenship and Indigenous peoples’ futures in academia. He has conducted research into Indigenous peoples’ experiences of harmful content on social media and how Indigenous bands and music fans use digital technology to establish digital communities of resistance. He is currently investigating the affordances of digital technology in relation to Indigenous peoples’ innovation and success in higher education in Australia and internationally. Tristan is a member of the Centre for Global Indigenous Futures.

Professor Marcia Langton AO
Bidjara Nations, Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor, Professor of Australian Indigenous Studies and Associate Provost, University of Melbourne

Professor Marcia Langton AO is an anthropologist and geographer, and since 2000 has held the Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies at the University of Melbourne. She has produced a large body of knowledge in the areas of political and legal anthropology, Indigenous agreements and engagement with the minerals industry, and Indigenous culture and art. Her role in the Empowered Communities project under contract to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and as a member of the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians are evidence of Professor Langton's academic reputation, policy commitment and impact, alongside her role as a prominent public intellectual. Her 2012 Boyer lecture series titled The Quiet Revolution: Indigenous People and the Resources Boom is one of her recent contributions to public debate, and added to her influence and reputation in government and private sector circles. In 1993 she was made a member of the Order of Australia in recognition of her work in anthropology and the advocacy of Aboriginal rights. Professor Langton is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, a Fellow of Trinity College, Melbourne and an Honorary Fellow of Emmanuel College at the University of Queensland. In 2016 Professor Langton was honoured as a University of Melbourne Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor. In further recognition as one of Australia’s most respected Indigenous Academics Professor  Langton  has in 2017 been appointed as the first Associate Provost at the University of Melbourne.

Thomas Mayo
Assistant National Secretary of the Maritime Union Australia, Signatory to the Uluru Statement from the Heart and Author ‘The Voice to Parliament Handbook’

Thomas Mayo is a Kaurareg Aboriginal and Kalkalgal, Erubamle Torres Strait Islander man. He is the National Indigenous Officer of the MUA. Thomas is a signatory of the Uluru Statement from the Heart and has been a leading advocate since its inception in May 2017. He is the Chairperson of the Northern Territory Indigenous Labor Network, advises the Diversity Council of Australia and the From the Heart campaign, and is an executive member of the Northern Territory Trades and Labour Council. Thomas has previously written five books published by Hardie Grant, and has articles and essays published in The Guardian, Griffith Review and Sydney Morning Herald.

Dane Simpson
Proud Gamilaraay man, Comedian

Australian Comedian Dane Simpson was a Deadly Funny national finalist in 2015. Since then, it has been a fast-rising trajectory for this Wagga-based talent with a whirlwind of corporate gigs, tours, and festival runs – as both a solo artist and as part of Aborigi-LOL. Dane has appeared on the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala, the Opening Night Comedy Allstars Supershow, Channel 10’s Have You Been Paying Attention, Get Krackin, and in feature film rom-com The Merger. He also produces the monthly Riverina Comedy Club and is a programmer/ producer to the annual Wagga Comedy Festival. During lockdown, Dane became host of cult-hit Servo Bingo – an interactive online show revolving around the vehicles and characters turning up at the service station opposite Thirsty Crow brewery in Wagga. Yes, it was as silly and fun as it sounds.

Scott Darlow
Yorta Yorta Country living in Naarm, Singer/Songwriter

Since entering the Australian music scene in 2003, Yorta Yorta descendent Scott Darlow has been a mainstay of Australia’s Indigenous and independent music industry. The versatile singer-songwriter, guitarist, and didgeridoo player has sold more than 50,000 albums worldwide and has extensively toured Australia, the UK,Asia and the USA. Darlow has released four albums to-date; two with his first band "The Darlow Show," and most recent as a solo artist. His landmark album, Sorry, released November 2016 to critical acclaim with Rolling Stone describing the album as, “...front-foot rock, oozing in confidence and honesty...Since that release, Darlow has continued to release music and continued to be supported heavily by commercial and community radio all over Australia. Since 2016, Darlow has had 7 singles added to high rotation nation wide on the Triple M network. Darlow has continued to tour nationally, headlining his own shows, opening for the likes of Jimmy Barnes and Eskimo Joe and playing festivals like Under the southern skys. In 2020, Darlow was signed to music legend Michael Gudinskispersonal reord label, Reclusive Records. Scott Darlow was to become the last artist Gudinski signed. 2023 will see Darlow release 4 singles and an album, and will headline a national tour which will see him drive around Ausrtralia for 4 months, simultaneously playing and speaking in schools and prisons, playing rock shows in venues around the country with his band, and making a documentary that focuses on the uniqueness, beauty and depth of culture found in the 300 different nations that make up what we now call Australia. Darlow is a passionate Indigenous educator and activist, regularly speaking in 100+ schools globally each year all over Australia, the UK and Asia. Darlow also uses his music and speaking skills to entertain and educate corporate audiences Australia wide about his First Nations culture, Australian history, racial tolerance, harmony and important social matters. His key word "FLUTE" (Forgiveness, Love, Understanding, Tolerance and Empathy) has become so popular that schools and businesses have included it in their curriculums and charters.

Professor Braden Hill
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students, Equity and Indigenous), Edith Cowan University

Professor Braden Hill is a Nyungar (Wardandi) man from the south-west of Western Australia and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students, Equity and Indigenous). Professor Hill previously held the role of Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Equity and Indigenous) and Head of Kurongkurl Katitjin, Edith Cowan University’s (ECU) Centre for Indigenous Australian Education and Research. He has significant experience in Aboriginal education, as well as leading a range of equity initiatives including Sage Athena SWAN, Respect Now Always, Reconciliation Action Plan and Disabilities and Access Inclusion Plan within the tertiary sector. His current portfolio responsibilities include leading ECU’s commitment to Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advancement, Equity and Diversity initiatives and working across the University to provide an environment that welcomes, and facilitates the success of, students and staff from a range of diverse backgrounds. Professor Hill’s research interests include Indigenous education, identity politics, queer identities in education and transformative learning. He is also chief investigator on a project exploring the lived experiences of Indigenous LGBTQI people to better inform community health organisations in their working with queer-identifying Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Prior to ECU, Professor Hill was the Director of Aboriginal Education, Equity and Inclusion at Murdoch University, responsible for leading University’s Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre, Health Service and Equity, and Social Inclusion Office. Professor Hill holds the degrees of Bachelor of Education (Secondary), Bachelor of Arts (Australian Indigenous Studies) and Masters by Research in Indigenous Education.

Miah Madden
Gadigal Country, Actor and Presenter

Miah Madden, is an Indigenous Australian of Gadigal and Bundjalung heritage. Miah has been a film and television actress since the age of 9, her first role being in THE SAPPHIRES. Over the years, Miah has worked on features and television series such as the ABC TV series THE GODS OF WHEAT STREET, THE DARK SIDE directed by Warwick Thornton, the ABC series REDFERN NOW, THE MOODYS, the animation series LITTLE J AND BIG CUZ, Kriv Stender’s feature film AUSTRALIA DAY, MUSTANGS FC S2, THE UNLISTED, along with being a presenter for Nickelodeon Australia. In early 2020, Miah appeared as a guest star in the second series of THE BUREAU OF MAGICAL THINGS. In 2021, she travelled to the Great Barrier Reef to film for one of the lead roles in DIVE CLUB, which has been released on Channel 10 and Netflix. She also proudly starred in the 2021 UN Women’s Australia campaign, ‘When Will She Be Right?’ focusing on gender inequality in Australia. In 2022, Miah made history when she landed the role of being the youngest ever presenter on PLAY SCHOOL. in 2022 Miah worked on Stan's BALI 2022 alongside Rachel Griffiths, Richard Roxburgh and Claudia Jessie, coming to Stan in 2022. In 2023 THE CLEARING premiered on Disney+ where Miah worked with Teresa Palmer, Miranda Otto, Mark Coles Smith and Guy Pearce. This year, Miah finished filming as a lead on PAPER DOLLS coming to Paramount+, an exciting drama which centres a pop girl-group in the 90s.

Marlon Motlop
Proud Larrakia, Kungarrakany and Thursday Island boy, Australian Native Produce Farmer, Former AFL Footballer, Recording Artist and Musician


Castan Centre for Human Rights Law Voice to Parliament Clinic students: Alexandra George, Chloe Hunt, Meghna Mitra, Rose Russell
Supervising Producer Dr Gina Bekker
Post Producer Grace Quinn, Pork Store Productions
Offline Editor Saxon Wright
Online & Trailer Editor Rob La Terra
Designer Julian Karajic

Special thanks

To all the generous speakers
Professor Melissa Castan, Director, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law
Dr Gina Bekker, Clinic Supervisor, Castan Centre Human Rights Law Clinic
Jack White
Karen Li
Annette Heritage
Diane Beal
Hamish MacGregor
Henrietta Stride
Lauren Scott
Lucy Broom
Sarah Linsten
Scott Walker
Tracy LeMin
Yen Yee Choo

Learn more

Researchers at the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law continue to compile timely factsheets, articles, publications, and multimedia content on our First Nations Voice to Parliament Resources Website. This resource space is focused on supporting and responding to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, offering easily accessible public educational materials and thorough legal analyses to keep you well-informed throughout this year. We work closely with the William Cooper Institute and Monash University to highlight our contributions to a democratic referendum. For more information on Monash University’s commitment see monash.edu/voice.