The cover has been timed to coincide with Australia Day and is part of a 19-page special featuring 31 Australians from politics, showbiz, the arts and sport who want to bring about constitutional change and recognition for Indigenous Australians.
“I think a lot of the industry, and the people I surrounded myself with, encouraged me not to be too political,” Mauboy says – something she only recognises now, looking back.
“I was pretty young when I first received recognition, and for years I felt as though I couldn’t show my true identity. What I was saying in public was very dictated by other people who could not handle my sense of culture and identity. They felt they had to take it off my hands.”
Mauboy says it took her “a lot of courage” to get past that pressure and feel comfortable enough to say what she wants to say.
“I have been able break free of those people, and now I am confident in who I am as a woman, as a performer,” she says.
“I feel unchained, able to address issues that are important to me, to have a sense of realness in the messages I’m delivering … this whole movement is a wake-up call for people of all races.
“Up to now, I’ve been political by simply being present. Every time I sang the national anthem, which I love doing, I believed I was being political, by being a proud Indigenous Australian, and that’s why it is so important to me that all of Australia understands why something like the constitution and the way it stands right now is such a big issue for me and so many others.”
The year 2020 marks 250 years since James Cook’s first voyage to Australia. The Morrison government has said it wants to put Indigenous recognition to a referendum before the next election, but it will not include an Indigenous “voice to Parliament” in the Constitution as recommended in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Instead, the government will put the “voice” in legislation, and is working with Aboriginal leaders on a model.
Mauboy’s most recent album, Hilda, is dedicated to her grand mother and the struggles she faced as an indigenous woman who entered into a mixed race relationship.
“She was the most beautiful, caring woman and she never let that stop her from raising her family despite the racism she faced, especially back then,” Mauboy says.
“That takes a lot of strength for anyone, and that has been really inspiring for me to look back at her story and pay tribute to it in my music.
“Uluru has always felt really free to me, especially now the chains have gone. The same thing needs to happen with our Constitution, we need to lift the barrier to move forward. For me, Indigenous constitutional recognition would mean freedom.”
Andrew Hornery is a senior journalist and Private Sydney columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald.