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South East votes against constitutional change

October 16, 2023 7:16 am in by

The South East electorates of Eden Monaro and Gilmore – like most of the country – has voted against changing the constitution to recognise an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

Australia rejected the Indigenous Voice referendum, the NO vote winning in every state and territory except the ACT.

39.5% of people voted YES with 60.5% voting NO in the Eden Monaro, while in Gilmore, only 38% said YES, while just shy of 62% voted against the Voice.

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Walbunja Elder from Mogo on the Yuin nation, Uncle Bunja Smith told East Coast Radio while it wasn’t the result he wanted, it was interesting to see which areas did vote for the change.

“I was a little surprised, I was a bit more optimistic and thought we (the YES vote) had a chance of reaching 51% but we ended up closer to the 40% mark,” Smith said.

“Where we live in particular which was the main area I campaigned in, a lot of people understood, and the voting was very high yes, in some booths such as Broulee, Mogo and Tilba,” Smith said.

“It doesn’t surprise me that a forward thinking capital such as Canberra voted YES,” he continued.

Locations in the Eden Monaro to vote YES included: Araluen, Bermagui, Broulee, Brogo, Central Tilba, Delegate, Tanja, Tathra and Wyndham.

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While Gilmore locations such as Bawley Point, Malua Bay, Manyana, Milton, Mogo and South Durras all voted YES.

There were some areas on the South Coast that were very tight but where the NO vote prevailed such as Candelo, Pambula, Towamba and Tomakin.

Areas where a clear majority voted NO included: Ulladulla, Burrill Lake, Nelligen, Batemans Bay, Moruya, Bodalla, Bega, Quaama, Tura Beach, Wolumla, Eden, Bomabala and Cooma.

In NSW 40.5% of people voted YES while 59.5% voted NO and across the country 39.5% voted YES while 60.5% voted NO.

“While it didn’t pass, the result still says that quite a lot of Australia support Aboriginal people being in the Constitution,” Smith said.

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“We only needed another 11 or 12% to get across the line,”

“I think people may have voted differently if they had all of the information and had not had the fear mongering that the NO Campaign ran.”

Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians, Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, said the country has clearly rejected division within our Constitution.

“The Australian people have said no to this,” Ms Nampijinpa Price said.

“The Australian people want practical outcomes and a unified country where we can move forward together.”

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Peter Dutton has denied Australia has rejected First Nations people by voting down constitutional change.

The Opposition Leader said voters have chosen a way forward for Indigenous policy that doesn’t include the Voice.

“They’ve rejected the Voice and the Govenerment’s proposal which wasn’t explained to them but they haven’t rejected Indigenous Australians and we are all dedicated to doing everything possible to improve their lives.”

Minister for Indigenous Australians, Linda Burney, said while the outcome will be hard for some, she said achieving progress is never easy.

“Progress doesn’t always move in a straight line, there are breakthroughs and heartbreaks, but I am confident that because of this campaign and the millions of conversations it has sparked that a new generation of indigenous leaders will emerge.”

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If you’re an Indigenous Australian and need to talk to someone about the Voice result or anything else, you can call Indigenous crisis line 13 YARN (13 92 76).

Images: Eurobodalla Shire Council, AEC, James Fennessy – East Coast Radio

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