Big W backflips on Indigenous Voice move

The retailer has responded after shoppers took issue with in-store messaging.

Big W has backflipped on a decision to play in-store messaging supporting the Indigenous Voice to Parliament over its public announcement system, following complaints from customers.

The retailer started airing the message during NAIDOC Week earlier this month, and although it didn't explicitly push for Australians to vote "yes" in the forthcoming referendum on the issue, it rubbed some shoppers the wrong way.

"We remain committed to actively contributing to Australia's reconciliation journey through listening and learning, empowering more diverse voices and working together for a better tomorrow," the Acknowledgement of Country message began.

Big W storefront; Aboriginal flag
Big W's support of the Indigenous Voice to Parliament has angered some customers. Source: Getty

More contentiously, the announcement continued, "we reaffirm our support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart, and its calls for a First Nations Voice to parliament enshrined in the Constitution".

A spokesperson for Big W has addressed the change in a statement to Yahoo News, confirming both customers and employees have expressed opposing views on the matter.

"Last year we began playing an Acknowledgement of Country across our store network. As a part of NAIDOC Week this year, a new Acknowledgement of Country was launched in Big W stores that referenced the Uluru Statement from the Heart," the spokesperson said.

"Based on customer and store team feedback, we will be reverting to the previous Acknowledgement of Country in-store message. We recognise and respect our team and customers have varying views and perspectives."

Several shoppers have since taken to social media to commend Big W's decision to alter the message.

"Good to know that Big W actually do pay attention to what their customers are telling them," one tweeted.

"Good! I'm sick of hearing it! Every half hour, two adverts to push this divisive Voice! Companies should be apolitical!" another commented.

Second Voice storm for Big W

This isn't the first controversy surrounding Big W's stance on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. In June, the company hit back at a one-star review of The Voice to Parliament Handbook by Thomas Mayo and Kerry O'Brien, which it stocks.

"Absolutely no detail about what changing the constitution will do. Was hoping to learn about what will happen when we enshrine the voice. Just propaganda and fluff," a customer's review read.

In response, Big W posted, "As a diverse workplace, Big W recognises the significance of National Reconciliation Week for all Australians and as part of Woolworths Group, we are committed to Reconciliation and support the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

"We hope we can continue to learn together with our team, customers and communities to take actions towards a more inclusive Australia."

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