18 Oct 2023
By Dani Brown
The referendum on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament has been defeated after a majority of Australians voted ’no’.
In the Mayo electorate, of the votes counted by Wednesday morning, October 18, 60.37 per cent of the 132,913 registered votes chose to vote ’no’.
Meanwhile, 39.63pc had voted ’yes’, and 1.03pc were informal votes.
This is compared with 60.73pc of people nationally who had voted ’no’, and 39.27pc who had voted ’yes’.
Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie said she was pleased that the referendum “proceeded in a peaceful manner“.
“I am sure there are many people, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, who are upset at the outcome,“ she said.
“I think that despite the vote outcome, Australians do overwhelmingly recognise the importance of the history and culture of our local Aboriginal communities.
“I think we will need to wait to hear from Indigenous leaders from across Australia with respect to future steps.“
Ms Sharkie said the participation rate should be examined as part of the post-referendum analysis.
“We are yet to see the participation rate; it is expected that one in seven Australians on the electoral roll did not vote in the referendum - if that is correct, I think we need to look at why that was and whether enough was done to outreach to all citizens about the referendum,“ she said.
After the referendum defeat was called, Ngarrindjeri musician and producer Trials, who makes up one-half of Indigenous hip-hip duo A.B. Original, said he was “heart broken for all involved“.
“Regardless of your stance, we saw a crucial flashpoint to hear Indigenous points of view on a real platform they can’t ignore,“ Trials posted on Instagram.
“We as a nation didn’t just ignore it, we collectively watched it drown.“
Senator for South Australia Andrew McLachlan said everyone must now all work as one to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians.
“The referendum result shows that the Australian people did not consider Labor’s constitutionally enshrined voice model as the best path forward to address the issues facing our Indigenous communities,“ he said.
“Australians did not say no to reconciliation and they did not say no to improving the lives of Indigenous Australians.“
Mr McLachlan supported an audit, led by Senators Kerrynne Liddle and Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, regarding Indigenous program spending.
“The Coalition is committed to implementing a Royal Commission into child sexual abuse in Indigenous communities and an audit into spending on Indigenous programs,“ he said.
“The audit will assist in ensuring that federal funding reaches those most in need and delivers the best outcomes, particularly for Indigenous families in remote areas.“
Indigenous people who need support can contact 24/7 support service 13YARN on 13 92 76 and talk with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander crisis supporter.