Disappointment as Voice to Parliament Referendum Fails, Raising Questions for Opposition


Summary: The long-anticipated referendum on establishing a Voice to Parliament for Australia’s First People has resulted in a resounding ‘No’ vote, leading to disappointment and frustration among Indigenous leaders. The referendum, which saw opposition leader Peter Dutton and No campaigners celebrate their victory, will have significant political implications, particularly for the Labor Party and leader Anthony Albanese. The failure of the referendum has also raised concerns about the future of reconciliation and the ongoing efforts to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

The referendum on a Voice to Parliament, which aimed to recognize Australia’s First People in the constitution, has ended in failure with a majority of states, including Tasmania, NSW, and South Australia, voting ‘No’. This outcome has left Indigenous leaders and supporters of the Yes campaign devastated and frustrated. The loss of the referendum has also sparked anger and accusations against Peter Dutton and No campaigners, with Indigenous leaders claiming that they lied to the Australian people. Prominent Yes campaigner Noel Pearson has declared reconciliation ‘dead’ and warned that it may take decades for Australians to acknowledge the existence of Indigenous people.

Despite the failure of the referendum, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Indigenous Australians Minister Linda Burney have pledged to continue their efforts for reconciliation and to find alternative ways to address the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. However, the political ramifications of the referendum cannot be ignored. Peter Dutton and shadow Indigenous Australians spokeswoman Jacinta Nampijinpa Price celebrated the outcome, but they too face electoral challenges as strong Yes votes were recorded in Liberal heartland, potentially hindering the Coalition’s path back to government.

The focus has now shifted to Dutton and his commitment to closing the gap. However, his early comments suggesting a royal commission into child sexual abuse and a spending program audit have raised doubts about his sincerity. As parliament returns, Anthony Albanese will face questions about the failure of the referendum, the rejection by Labor’s heartland, and the party’s campaign tactics. The future of Linda Burney, the first woman to hold the Indigenous Australians portfolio, is also under scrutiny, with Malarndirri McCarthy seen as a likely successor.

In reflection of the referendum, Noel Pearson has highlighted the need for Australians to self-reflect and consider the implications of the vote. With the failed referendum, recognition of Australia’s First People remains unresolved.

Tags: Voice to Parliament, referendum, Indigenous leaders, Peter Dutton, political implications, reconciliation, electoral challenges, Anthony Albanese, Linda Burney, Noel Pearson