2023 Referendum: Yes in Mackellar by less than 1%, Yes in Warringah by 18%, Yes in North Sydney by 19%, Yes in Wentworth by 25.32% - despite a no total
The highest margin occurred in Allegra Spender's Wentworth electorate, named for the first Mackellar MP's ancestor William Charles Wentworth. Bill Wentworth was a campaigner and part of the 1967 Referendum and the Minister in Charge of Aboriginal Affairs, the first Minister to hold this office.
First Australian campaigners meet with Prime Minister Harold Holt seeking support for the 1967 referendum. Left to right: Gordon Bryant MP, Faith Bandler, Prime Minister Harold Holt, Douglas Nicholls, Burnum Burnum (Harry Penrith), Winnie Branson, William Wentworth MP
The highest margin differences at polling booths across the Mackellar electorate were at Terrey Hills Community Centre PPVC, Yulong Ave, yes; 2,014 no; 3,218, Bilarong Community Hall PPVC, Bilarong Reserve, Wakehurst Pkwy, yes; 5,049 to no; 6,449, a PPVC that was festooned with 'no' campaign material, and Avalon Recreation Centre PPVC, yes; 4,380 to no; 3,535 and the Brookvale PPVC, yes; 3,007 and no; 3,730.
That so many had voted at Pre Poll Voting Centres accounts for an emptiness around these booths and streets on Saturday October 14 and some disappointment for youngsters who had baked cakes and manned sausage sizzles to raise much need funds for their sorting clubs and community organisations. People had already made up their minds and cast their votes before Referendum Day 2023 and were not taking part in any Saturday election atmosphere.
Today, Sunday October 15, is a day of mourning for Indigenous peoples who wanted this to be a Yes across Australia, one of thousands that have occurred since this land was colonised by Europeans, and a day of satisfaction for those who campaigned against this referenda, with some media outlets asking if Prime Minister Anthony Albanese should resign two hours after polls had closed, thereby revealing their agenda as propagandists still upset over losing the last election instead of non-partisan reporters.
Across Australia there have been First Nations people who voted 'no' as well - most of these individuals stating no one consulted them about whether they wanted this and they are weary of a handful who place themselves in charge deigning to speak for them and certainly don't want that to be instituted at a national level.
This has been a debate that was turned into a conflict. Residents have witnessed racist attacks on people in the street for wearing a 'yes' t-shirt, angry arguments on social media between neighbours, and disinformation alike that seen in America spread.
- Disinformation: Postal votes are not a safe way of casting a vote. This form of voting can lead to the AEC changing your vote to 'rig the referendum'. A 'stack' of postal votes will appear at 2am the morning after the referendum for one side of the referendum to ensure a predetermined result, as happened in the US Presidential election.
- Disinformation: The provision of pencils at polling places by the AEC is part of a plan by the AEC, or officers of the AEC, to change the referendum result by rubbing out votes.
- Disinformation: The writ for the 2023 referendum is not legitimate as it was not issued with the Great Seal of the Commonwealth. The Writ must be displayed at all polling places.
- Disinformation: Increases in the number of people on the electoral roll, and the achievement of a record high enrolment rate, indicate 'roll stacking' or an integrity issue with the roll.
- Disinformation: There will be two questions on the 2023 referendum ballot paper. If you vote a particular way to one question it will ‘override’ the answer to the other question.
- Disinformation: Promoting enrolment for Indigenous Australians is campaigning for a Yes vote “by stealth”.
Liberal MP Julian Leeser, who quit the Coalition frontbench to champion a Yes vote and was a member of a forum held by the Aboriginal Support Group Manly Warringah Pittwater in Mona Vale, said he remained optimistic the "cause for reconciliation will ultimately succeed".
"To every Indigenous Australian I say, this was a vote about the constitution, it was not a vote about you. It is an undeniable fact that you are our land's first peoples and I honour you this night," he said.
Likewise Ken Wyatt quit the Liberal Party over its decision to formally oppose the government's plan to enshrine an Indigenous Voice.
Tasmanian Liberal MP Bridget Archer, a campaigner for Yes in the federal Coalition party room, said it would be "very difficult" for Australia to move forward.
"There has been really terrible things said that are very hard to repair the damage from," Ms Archer said.
Independent senator Lidia Thorpe, a leading No campaigner, continues to call for a treaty with First Nations people before the constitution was changed.
Mackellar MP Dr Sophie Scamps posted on social media on Saturday night;
While the Voice may not have been successful, it's time for Australia to come together and do what we can to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians.
We know that Indigenous Australians experience worse health, social and economic outcomes than Non-Indigenous Australians.
It's time for politicians from all sides to end the arguments, and come together to help create policies that will Close the Gap and lead to better lives for Indigenous Australians.
Others have called throughout this debate, and call still for 'truth-telling'. Truth-telling is defined as involving activities at local, state, national, and international levels. For example: official apologies, truth and reconciliation or other inquiries and commissions, memorials, ceremonies and public art.
It can be a way to reclaim lost of pushed aside facts. One example often cited is to tell the under-told aspects of our history is the Myall Creek Massacre Memorial. The renaming of places has also grown as a means of truth-telling; museums and cultural centres are thinking about how to better take account of our shared Australian history.
Of course Neil Evers, as local descendant of Indigenous peoples in what is now called Pittwater has explained, we cannot rename or have access to the meaning of the language spoken here and its meanings and knowledge as that is mostly lost - we have the word Barrenjoey, meaning little kangaroo, petroglyphs marking scared places and songlines through our area, but little else has survived.
Truth-telling is available though, if you look hard enough. Old Bayview residents such as the Shaws' oral histories recount First Nations peoples tending the sick here and in turn being tended when they were ill. The Queen of Scotland Island is no figment of the imagination either.
Nor is our ability to search old newspapers and read what was recorded there. Andrew Thompson, who was given Scotland Island as a land grant, appears in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 1805 accounts, just 17 years after First Nations Broken Bay peoples showed Governor Phillip where clean water, food and shelter were in Pittwater, as one who hunted and shot the original residents of this place, just as he and his fellow colonists were being hunted and killed themselves:
‘View in Broken Bay New South Wales. March 1788' by William Bradley. Aspect likely to be sketched from current day Clareville beach; then a place of oysters - note the fishing canoes to the left of the picture.
The referendum result is a profound disappointment to us all.Despite this setback the work of reconciliation is needed now more than ever.Reconciliation Australia has been part of the long process which led to the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the simple and modest proposition rejected tonight.As we grapple with this weekend’s outcome, we must also grapple with the ugly acts of racism and disinformation that have been a feature of the debate despite regular calls for respectful engagement.All Australians must ask ourselves whether this is a standard we are comfortable with.While the results are devastating, they are not the first setback to the aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.This is a familiar story and one that has never deterred Indigenous Elders and leaders to be a voice for change. We pay homage to their courage and example. The fight for justice and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will continue.Reconciliation Australia is buoyed by the enormous contributions to the Yes campaign by the tens of thousands of ordinary Australians who spanned political beliefs and who volunteered their time and support, who walked for recognition, and who repeatedly and patiently explained the Voice and its benefits to Australia.This weekend, as a nation we stumbled on our reconciliation journey. We must acknowledge and sit with this.However, we are confident that in due course, the millions of Australians who voted Yes, and those who voted No but who are committed to better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, will unite for a more just Australia.Now is a time for healing.While the work of reconciliation must continue, as we regroup, we will be led by how First Nations people wish to engage.Clearly the imperatives for Indigenous Australians have not changed and the issues written about so eloquently in the Uluru Statement remain to be addressed.Listening to the voices of First Nations peoples and providing opportunities for all Australians to learn from the vast knowledge and experiences which First Nations people possess, will ensure the best outcomes for this nation.We are determined to continue the journey of reconciliation and remain confident that away from the noise and clamour of the recent campaign, millions of Australians will ensure that the status quo does not remain.The powerful movement built over the past few months is not going away.