Australian voters have resoundingly rejected a proposal to enshrine an Indigenous voice to parliament in the country’s constitution, with voters in every state and territory bar the ACT opposing the change. The Australian Electoral Commission said 59% of the country voted no as of 10.30pm AEDT on Saturday. The state with the highest yes vote was Victoria, at 46%, while Queensland had the lowest yes vote, at 32%.
On Saturday night, the prime minister, Anthony Albanese, called for Australians to show kindness to each other and defended his decision to push on with the referendum, calling himself a conviction politician.
“Just as the Uluru Statement from the Heart was an invitation extended with humility, grace and optimism for the future, tonight we must meet this result with the same grace and humility. And tomorrow we must seek a new way forward with the same optimism,” he told a press conference in Canberra as he conceded defeat.
“Tonight is not the end of the road and is certainly not the end of our efforts to bring people together.” The minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney, held back tears as she stood alongside Albanese and conceded recent months had been tough on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.