On Saturday, Australia categorically snubbed The Voice.
It was a landslide win for the ‘no’ campaign, with all states and the NT voting against a constitutionally-enshrined Indigenous advisory body.
The ACT was a lone wolf in saying ‘yes’.
With three quarters of ballots now counted, nearly 64 percent of Western Australians have voted ‘no’.
But the electorates of Burt and Canning have returned an even more vociferous ‘no’, with 67 percent of Burt and nearly 77 percent of Canning against The Voice.
Member for Canning Andrew Hastie said it was clear his electorate voted “no to division”.
“While the Yes campaign had the deep pockets of big business, big finance, big tech and big sport, working Australia’s answer to The Voice was a resounding No, particularly in Canning and also in the south west. The results tell us that Australians don’t want to divide our country by race and ancestry – this was all about unity,” he said.
Member for Burt Matt Keogh said he was disappointed by the result but respects and accepts the decision of the Australian people.
“This was never going to be easy, but we can be thankful that in Australia we make the big decisions peacefully and as equals,” he said.
“There’s no doubt the referendum has shone a light for all Australians on the need to do better in closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.”
But Mr Hastie said the referendum has “put our country backwards”.
“We are now more divided than we were a year ago, and that sits with the Prime Minister. It is now the Prime Minister’s task to unify the country,” he said.
“The silver lining in all of this, is that the majority of Australians voted to move forward together as one nation. We are all equal before the law, and the people I represent – the people of Canning – voted to uphold that quality. I will continue to work to keep our country united.”
Mr Keogh acknowledged the damaging effect that Saturday’s result had had on many First Nations people.
“I know that Aboriginal Australians in our community are hurting this week, and I will continue to walk with them on the path to reconciliation,” he said.
“As a government we remain committed to listening to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians about what works and what can make a practical difference in their communities.”