Australian Music Icon Kamahl Says No to the Indigenous Voice

"I'm voting NO because I don't understand it!" Kamahl wrote on social media.
Australian Music Icon Kamahl Says No to the Indigenous Voice
Kamahl performs during the Multicultural round during the round 19 AFL match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Fremantle Dockers at Spotless Stadium on July 29, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Famous Malaysian-born Australian singer and artist Kamahl has announced he will not be backing a change to the Australian Constitution.

The 88-year-old said he opposed the centre-left Labor government's Indigenous Voice to Parliament, which would alter the Australian constitution to recognise Indigenous people and to create a permanent advisory body to the Parliament.

"I'm voting NO because I don't understand it!" Kamahl wrote on X (formerly known as Twitter) on Sep. 13.

He also pointed to his song "What is Australia to Me" which was recorded in 1988, saying the lyrics explained his decision to vote no.

"What's the voice / I don't understand it / It's just noise / And it's not clear / Vote no / We're not going / To vote apartheid / We don't want / One race privilege," according to the lyrics of the song.

His stance comes as Australians prepare to go to the polls to decide whether to enshrine The Voice into the Constitution. The date of the referendum is Oct. 14.

Kamahl, whose real name is Kandiah Kamalesvaran, is an Australian music icon, with his song "Sounds of Goodbye" reaching the Top 20 on the Kent Music Report singles chart and "The Elephant Song" topping the Dutch Top 40.

Kamahl was also one of the first artists to appear in concert at the Sydney Opera House and was a judge on The X-Factor.

The Voice Entrenches Division: Indigenous Senator

Northern Territory Senator Jacinta Price has argued that The Voice is "a pathway to division."

"It will create a powerful platform for activists to change the country in ways they refuse to be honest about," she wrote in an email to supporters on Sept. 8.

"They want to change the Constitution, our rulebook for governing the country, and it's only the beginning."

Ms. Price added that voting "yes" would "entrench and expand this division."

This will be the first referendum since the 1999 decision on whether Australia should become a republic and sever formal ties with the British monarchy.

South Australia was chosen for the launch of campaigning for The Voice with the state seen as a key battleground state.

Queensland and Western Australia are widely expected to cast a "no" majority, according to multiple polls, and it is anticipated New South Wales and Victoria will swing behind the "yes" campaign.

A survey of 605 South Australians by think tank, The Australia Institute, indicates 43 percent back an Indigenous Voice to Parliament while 39 percent are opposed.

The undecided 18 percent were evenly split in their leanings, with "yes" ahead at 52-48.

AAP contributed to this article.