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Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

There is a great deal of soul searching and reflection going on this morning as the referendum on The Voice clearly fails, and the path forward for reconciliation is anything but clear.

The late polling indicating a 40/60 split in favour of No was pretty close to spot on. At the time of writing, the national AEC figures were 39.75% Yes, 60.25% No. The results were remarkably similar across the nation, with the ACT the only jurisdiction to defy the trend and vote Yes (61/39).

Narrowing down to the booth level, the results were less consistent. While the electorate of New England voted strongly no (25/75), there were some booths, such as Armidale Town Hall (51/49), Armidale City Public (59/41), Madgwick at UNE (60/40) and the main Tamworth booth in Peel Street (68/31) voted Yes. The region is also home to the two strongest No votes of any booths in New South Wales, being Yetman (New England electorate) and Boomi (Parkes electorate), each of which recorded only 3 Yes votes all day (4/96).

Arguably the most surprising statistic of the night is the strength of the No vote in pre-poll voting centres. The No vote was significantly higher than comparable booths that voted on the day, indicating the campaign was over before it began for many voters. The Armidale PPVC was the only one in the region that did not record a No vote significantly higher than the electorate result.

Pre-poll Voting Centre Results

BoothYes votesYes %No votesNo %
Narrabri PPVC46612.71319987.29
Moree PPVC44713.26292586.74
Inverell PPVC87314.46516485.54
Gunnedah PPVC66414.64387185.36
Tamworth Central PPVC77717.52365882.48
Tenterfield PPVC41617.92190582.08
Glen Innes PPVC68818.1311481.9
Tamworth PPVC321320.671233179.33
Armidale PPVC387935720565
Pre-Poll voting results in the New England North West (AEC)

While much will be made and said about the referendum result, the immediate concern from most leaders has been to consider the mental health and wellbeing of many Indigenous Australians who have been confronted by extreme racism in recent weeks, and/or may feel devastated by the result. alls to the Indigenous help line 13YARN have exploded during the referendum campaign, and are expected to remain high as the entrails of the failed campaign are discussed and a new path forward worked out.

In a tearful speech last night, Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney described the result as a day of sadness for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“I know this outcome will be hard for some, but achieving progress is never easy, and progress doesn’t always move in a straight line,” she said.

“There are breakthroughs and heartbreaks, but I am confident that because of this campaign and the millions of conversations it has sparked, the renewed generation of Indigenous leaders will emerge.”


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