While attending university during the 1940s, Harold Levien became disillusioned with what he perceived as Australia's inefficient use of resources and an insular attitude to the Asian region. Reacting to what he saw as an antipathy to change and the stifling of debate by established magazines and newspapers, he began plans with a number of others for a monthly magazine in December 1950. Supported by £100 in advanced subscriptions and a further £100 of Levien's own money, the first issue of AIM: Australian Indepenedent Monthly was published in December 1951. A dispute over the rights to the title with estranged members of his group influenced the change of title to Voice: The Australian Independent Monthly for the next issue of April 1952.
Attempting to emulate Allan Fraser's The Australian Observer, which ceased production in 1949, Levien produced a topical magazine that encouraged criticism of the staus quo: a 'non-specialist meeting ground for many specialist minds.' Proceeding from a 'democratic, pragmatic, socialist' perspective, Voice was accused of communist sympathies and receiving financial assistance from the Labor Party, but Levien frequently asserted the magazine's independence from any group.
By 1954, Voice had about 4000 subscribers. But an editorial criticising Labor leader H. V. Evatt influenced many to cancel their subscriptions, an incident that Levien later suggested was the beginning of his magazine's demise. Levien described the subsequent change in readership as a move from a 'large group of fairly zealous non-intellectual' readers to 'more non-party readers and intellectual Labor supporters.' In August 1956, subscribers were encouraged to buy shares in the magazine to ensure the magazine's future, but contributions fell well short of the £10,000 required. The August number of Voice was the last.
Despite being unable to offer payment, Levien secured contributions from a wide range of critics and public figures. In addition to those providing general commentary on political and economic issues, Levien attracted many contributions on Australian literature and the arts. Contributors included Vance Palmer, John K Ewers, Max Harris, Clive Hamer, Vincent Buckley, A. A. Phillips, T. Inglis Moore and Judith Wright (qq.v.).