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Referendum’s resounding defeat as all states, NT vote ‘No’ to Voice

Callan Morse -

The referendum to enshrine an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the constitution has been comprehensively defeated after a majority 'No' vote was returned across the country, and in every state.

The first referendum in more than two decades saw strong a strong 'No' vote in key states of New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania emerge early in the count.

The early results saw analysts able to call referendum within 90 minutes of booths closing on the east coast.

Following the result, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, who championed a 'No' vote, said it was "good for our country" that Saturday's referendum failed.

"At all times in this debate, I have levelled my criticism at what I consider to have been a bad idea - to divide Australians based on their heritage or the time at which they came to our country," he told reporters in Brisbane.

"The Coalition, like all Australians, wants to see Indigenous disadvantage addressed. We just disagree on the voice being the solution."

The 'No' vote in Queensland was the nation's strongest, with 68 per cent of the total vote in opposition to the Voice.

Warren Mundine, who lead the 'No' campaign alongside Northern Territory senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, said there would be no celebrations from his side.

"The Australian public have told us that they don't want a voice, they want the government and other people to get out there and do the job that needs to be done," he said.

"Billions of dollars have been spent and not got the outcomes that we need. We need to do a performance audit of this, that makes sure that that that we know where that money is spent and where that what has worked and what has not worked and then we need to fix those things."

Senator Price said work needed to be done to bring the nation together at such "a challenging and heart-wrenching time".

"Going forward we need to prioritise where our most marginalised are," she said.

"The gap doesn't exist between Indigenous Australia and non-Indigenous Australia, it exists between our most marginalised who we know ... live in remote communities."

Fronting a press conference shortly after the result became clear, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the referendum result was disappointing for proponents of the 'Yes' campaign.

"When you do the hard things, when you aim high, sometimes you fall short. And tonight we acknowledge, understand and respect that we have," the Prime Minister said.

"For many, today is a day of sadness. This result is not what we hoped for."

'Yes' numbers in key states were as low as 40 per cent in New South Wales and Tasmania, and 35 per cent in South Australia.

Standing alongside the Prime Minister, federal minister for Indigenous affairs, Linda Burney, remained optimistic despite the referendum's defeat.

"I know this outcome will be hard for some, but achieving progress is never easy. Progress doesn't always move in a straight line," Ms Burney said.

"There a breakthroughs, and there are heartbreaks, but I am confident, that because of this campaign, and the millions of conversations it sparked.

That a new generation of Indigenous leaders will emerge."

For the referendum to have been successful, a double majority was required, meaning a majority 'Yes' vote was required nationally and from at least four states.

The Australian Capital Territory was the only jurisdiction to return a majority 'Yes' vote.

Voice to parliament referendum - by the numbers*

National - Yes 39.75%, No 60.25%

New South Wales - Yes 40.82%, 59.18%

Queensland - Yes 31.53%, No 68.47%

South Australia - Yes 35.61%, No 64.39%

Tasmania - Yes 40.8%, No 59.2%

Victoria - Yes 45.46%, No 54.54%

Western Australia - Yes 36.53, No 63.46%

Northern Territory - Yes 38.25%, No 61.75%

Australian Capital Territory - Yes 60.84%, No 39.16%

*as of 8am EST Sunday 15 October

with AAP

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