The 1967 Referendum asked the Australian public to vote on whether or not they would accept

amendments to Section.51 and Section.127 of the Australian Constitution. With 90.77% of

the public voting ‘yes’, the Referendum has been identified as “one of the most successful

national campaigns in Australia’s history.” An influential component of this campaign was the

use of posters featuring the faces of Aboriginal children, along with the slogan: ‘Right Wrongs,

Write Yes for Aborigines! on 27 May.’ These posters were created and distributed by The

Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (FCAATSI),

and have since become symbolic and historical records of the Referendum and advocacy

associated with it.

Albie Hunt (Dunjiba) was one of the children featured in the iconic posters. Hunt’s

relationship with the Referendum then, is twofold and unique.


Laslett’s portrait refuses separation of collective and individual story: the work demands the

viewer take pause and consider the relationship between event (the 1967 Referendum) and

individual (Hunt).

As a baby, Hunt was taken from his family and transported 800 kms from Dunjiba to the

Umeewarra Mission, located just outside of Port Augusta, South Australia. It is unknown how

his image came to be used in the Referendum posters, but we do know the photograph was

taken at Umeewarra Mission. Over 40 years later, Laslett photographs Hunt in the same


Hunt does not face the camera, but he is meeting our gaze: holding the campaign poster in

his hands. Accordingly, time ceases to be linear within the world of this image: history and the

present day co-exist, uneasily. This tension is intentional: as it is within these multiple

juxtapositions Laslett and Hunt undermine our capacity to deny the myth of a singular

narrative. We are made to bear witness and in doing so, recognize our own position in the

entanglement of injustices that have, and continue to, constitute the socio-political and legal

infrastructure of Australia.

Writing: Jennifer Eadie 2024