Summary: The federal electorate of Parkes in New South Wales has recorded the highest No vote in the state, rejecting the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. Despite the overwhelming result, Aboriginal leaders in the region remain hopeful for the future. The community of Parkes, comprising major centers such as Dubbo, Moree, Walgett, and Broken Hill, voted 79.9% against the proposal. Only two booths out of 94 in the electorate returned a Yes vote.
The federal electorate of Parkes in New South Wales has delivered a resounding rejection of the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. With a No vote of 79.9%, the community of Parkes has registered the highest opposition to the proposal in the state. The electorate, covering close to 400,000 square kilometers and including major centers such as Dubbo, Moree, Walgett, and Broken Hill, has a population of roughly 25,000 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander residents.
Despite the clear outcome, Aboriginal leaders in the region remain hopeful for the future. Maria ‘Polly’ Cutmore, a Gomeroi and Anaiwan woman, expressed optimism about what the Voice could mean for her community in Gamilaroi Country. However, only two of the 94 booths in the electorate returned a Yes vote, indicating a divide within the community over the proposed Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
The rejection of the Voice to Parliament has sparked debates over healing and unity within First Nations communities. Murrawarri man Fred Hooper, although voting against the Voice, emphasized the need for conversations on healing and unity within indigenous communities, believing that the campaign and referendum have caused divisions between families and communities. The referendum result has also revealed a divided opinion within towns such as Moree. While many Aboriginal residents supported the Voice as a means to have more say in their lives and a better future for their descendants, there were also those who felt the referendum would not make a difference or that Moree already had agencies and services that represented the local Aboriginal community.
Despite the disappointment among Yes campaigners, there is a message of resilience and determination. Tatum Moore, the Dubbo Local Aboriginal Land Council chief executive, urged fellow campaigners not to lose hope and assured them that the fight for better outcomes for Aboriginal communities would continue.
Tags: Parkes, Indigenous Voice to Parliament, referendum, New South Wales, Aboriginal community