Musician returns Order Of Australia medal over Voice referendum result

Shane Howard, the singer-songwriter of ‘Solid Rock, Sacred Ground’, has returned his Order of Australia medal in protest at the Voice referendum result.
Howard. image is head and shoulders shot of middle-aged man with grey hair, beard and moustache, with a grave expression.

Shane Howard, frontman of Australian rock group, Goanna, whose 1982 hit ‘Solid Rock, Sacred Ground’ decried the dispossession of First Peoples, has returned his Order of Australia medal, in protest over the Voice referendum result.

Howard was originally awarded the OAM in 2016 for significant service to the performing arts.

Writing to the Australian Governor-General, General David John Hurley, AC, DSC, FTSE this week, Howard spoke of his ‘deep sadness’ and noted that while he ‘respects the democratic result’ of the Referendum, he felt that ‘Australians had missed an important historical moment of destiny’.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts