'No' comes out on top in Voice referendum: What you need to know

The result is currently tracking for a 60 per cent 'No' vote.

Australia has decisively voted 'No' in The Voice to Parliament referendum.

The decision means there will be no enshrined body or change to the constitution to recognise First Nations people. The Yes campaign's defeat was clear after only 90 minutes of the first polling stations closing on Saturday.

To pass, The Voice needed the support of at least four states and a majority of national votes. Although votes are still being counted across the country, the proposal is set to be rejected by all six states.

Left, a voter fill out 'No' on their ballot paper. Right, PM Anthony Albanese looks somber as he addresses the media after the Voice to Parliament was rejected.
Australia decisively voted against having an Indigenous Voice to Parliament on Saturday. Source: 9 News and Twitter

What you need to know

  • Nationwide, with the majority of votes counted, the 'No' vote led 'Yes' 60 per cent to 40.

  • The ACT is the only jurisdiction where the Yes vote won majority.

  • Anthony Albanese said the referendum result was "not the end of the road", while others have called for the Prime Minister to step down after his campaign's defeat.

  • Indigenous leaders are calling for a week of mourning from the result.

🗣️ What they said

  • PM Anthony Albanese when asked why he believes the referendum wasn't successful on Saturday: “The analysis will go on for some time no doubt. But the truth is that no referendum has succeeded without bipartisan support in this country."

  • Peter Dutton, Opposition Leader, responds to referendum's failure: "The Coalition, like all Australians, wanted to see Indigenous disadvantages addressed, we just disagree with the Voice being the solution ... We must redouble our efforts to improve outcomes for Indigenous Australians in those disadvantaged communities."

  • Linda Burney, the Minister for Indigenous Australians told fellow First Nations people after the defeat: “I know the last few months have been tough but be proud of who you are. Be proud of your identity. Be proud of the 65,000 years of history and culture that you are part of, and of your rightful place in this country.”

  • Yes campaign director Dean Parkin in response to the result said: "This is a base, not a summit. We will build on this."

  • Prominent No campaigner and Nationals senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price said: “[Australians] have said No to the gas-lighting, bullying, to the manipulation. They have said No to grievance and the push from activists to suggest that we are a racist country when we are absolutely not a racist country."

🤔 Why should I care?

Australia's Indigenous citizens — who make up 3.8 per cent of Australia's 26 million population — will not be formally recognised in the constitution. Many fear the result is a major setback to the country's efforts for reconciliation with First Nations people.

While many share concerns over what they believe the result means for the country's identity, others have reiterated the result is simply a rejection of the legislative proposal at hand.

"This is not a result about whether Australians support Indigenous people or not, it's a referendum on a particular model of constitutional recognition," Liberal MP Julian Lesser told ABC News.

⏭️ So what next?

In September, Opposition leader Peter Dutton said he would hold another referendum if the Voice fails, and the Coalition wins the next federal election.

That referendum — which Dutton said would be held in the Coalition's first term — would be purely on a question of recognising Indigenous people in the constitution in a symbolic way, something Australians rejected in 1999.

However, an expert has warned Australians may not see another referendum "for a very long time" after Saturday's result.

“We are unlikely to see any further attempts to amend our constitution as politicians will think there is no point trying to modernise our constitution because Australians will always reject change," Professor Paula Gerber from Monash University said.

She also flagged the result may impact the way the world views Australia, saying the "outcome has damaged our international reputation and standing."

Anthony Albanese has stressed his government will "come together and find a different way" to tackle Indigenous issues, believing it has brought "national awareness" to the topic. However, some Liberal politicians and conservative commentators have called for the Prime Minister to resign though there is no indication this will take place.

A group of unnamed Indigenous leaders linked to the Yes campaign have declared a "week of silence" to mourn the result, calling for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags to be lowered to half-mast.

🔢 The story in numbers

  • This is Australia's 45th referendum, with only 8 previously being successful

  • 97.7 per cent of eligible Aussies registered to vote ahead of the referendum

  • Over 6 million people voted early, with Friday being the biggest single day of pre-polling in Australia's history with just over one million votes cast.

  • It took only 90 minutes after the first polling stations closed for the 'Yes' campaign to concede defeat.

  • The strongest Yes vote was in the city electorate of Melbourne at 73 per cent — typically viewed as one of Australia's most liberal.

  • Meanwhile, the strongest No vote — 84.1% — was in Maranoa, a rural electorate in country Queensland.

❗ It’s hard to believe, but…

The result of the referendum was called on Saturday night while millions of Aussies still had time to cast their vote — with voting stations in Western Australia closing more than a hour and half after victory was announced for the No vote nationally.

💬 Conversation starter

Despite the disappointing outcome for the Yes campaign, the result is not the worst recorded in Australia's referendum history which stands at only 30.79 per cent in favour of a proposal.

The result of The Voice is comparative to the last referendum in 1999 which asked Aussies whether they wanted to be a republic nation.

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