Every state in Australia rejected the Voice to parliament on Saturday but only one state said No in all of its electorates.
South Australia recorded a whopping 64.4 per cent No vote, the second highest in the country after Queensland.
Even the state’s inner-city seats delivered tight No victories, while inner-city electorates in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane backed Constitutional change.
Voters in the seat of Adelaide, held by Labor’s Steve Georganas, supported No with 50.4 per cent of the votes, the tightest margin in the state.
The No wave broadened as the electorates moved away from the city’s core.
Hindmarsh, held by Health Minister Mark Butler, takes in working-class Port Adelaide, the Adelaide Airport and the beach suburbs to the north, and voted 61.6 per cent for No.
Regional and outer suburban South Australia delivered crushing blows to the Yes camp, with the seats of Grey, Spence and Barker all producing No percentages above 70 per cent.
For 49-year-old Madellen Dawson, voting at the Plympton-Glenelg RSL in the electorate of Boothby, issues such as cost-of-living pressures were “much more important” than enshrining an Indigenous-led advisory body into the Constitution.
“It (the Voice) will create a division that is unnecessary,” she said.
“More of a rift than unity”.
The South Australian Labor government, led by Premier Peter Malinauskas, has legislated a state-based Voice to Parliament, with elections to the new body set to begin in March 2024.
The state-based Voice cannot veto legislation or stop the parliament from undertaking its duties and functions, but it can engage with the executive, including Cabinet, Cabinet ministers and the chief executives of government departments.
Mr Malinauskas has committed to going ahead with the March elections.
“The Prime Minister honoured his commitment to put a constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice to a vote in a referendum. Our democracy has now decided against that model,” he told The Adelaide Advertiser on Saturday night.
“But the work at a federal level to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage must continue.”
South Australian Liberal leader David Speirs, speaking at the Kauri Community and Sports Centre in Adelaide after voting No on Saturday, said South Australians would be “shocked” to discover the state had a Voice.
“I don’t see today’s referendum as a referendum necessarily on the state voice,” he said.
“I believe the vast majority of people, I think 90 per cent plus, don’t know there’s a state Voice and they will get a terrible shock in March, when suddenly the Voice is pitched into the public arena for the elections to the state Voice.
“They will think: ‘didn’t we vote this down on the 14th of October and they will be quite shocked by that process that will unfold here in March.”
Mr Speirs said he reserved his right to judge the Voice as it unfolded, but if he believed it was not working, “my party will certainly look to amend it.”