Shane Howard
Shane Howard | Credit: John Stanton/WireImage

Goanna’s Shane Howard Protests Referendum Result by Returning Order of Australia Medal

Following the results of the 14th October referendum on the Voice to Parliament, Goanna frontperson Shane Howard has returned his Order of Australia Medal in protest. Howard, who has long been known for his political activism along with his chart-topping songs, returned his Medal with an accompanying letter to the governor-general.

After weeks of heavy campaigning from both sides, the referendum resulted in a “no” vote, dealing a huge blow to hopes of proper representation for Indigenous Australians in the country’s parliament. In returning his OAM, Howard stressed that he “respects the democratic result,” but also spoke of how the “no” vote triggered a moment of disillusionment with his country.

Goanna – ‘Solid Rock’ (Live at the AFL Grand Final)

“At this point in history, I can’t be proud of my nation and feel honour bound to return my Order of Australia medal,” Howard said. “When I wrote the song, ‘Solid Rock (Sacred Ground)’, 40 years ago, I wanted us to address the fundamental lie at the heart of our national story. I dreamt of a country respectful of our ancient history and honest about our modern history. I wanted to be proud of my country.”

In the letter, Howard also took aim at the misinformation on the “no” side, noting that a “well-resourced” disinformation network twisted the issue out of recognisable shape.

Since the unambiguous defeat of the referendum, there have been a range of responses from those advocating for Indigenous rights in this country, from the bold call to regroup offered by rapper Briggs to Nooky calling it “the most overt, unconcealed manifestation of racism” he’s ever experienced, to Howard’s decision to hand back his OAM.

Those who have been disheartened by the result of the referendum should remember that there are steps they can take – consider donating to Pay The Rent, for instance, a charity that provides a “somewhat more just way of living on this stolen land.”

Further Reading

Nooky Calls Referendum Result the “Most Overt Manifestation of Racism I’ve Ever Experienced”

Goanna Release 40th Anniversary Version Of ‘Solid Rock’ With Emma Donovan & William Barton

Goanna to Perform with Supergroup of First Nations Musicians at 2022 AFL Grand Final

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