Indigenous leaders have called for “A Week of Silence” to grieve the outcome of Saturday’s referendum on The Voice. In a statement, the leaders (who chose not to be named) said they would not be commenting on the “No” result and would take time to “reflect on its meaning and significance”.
In a letter obtained by Sky News, indigenous leaders who worked in support of the Yes campaign took the opportunity to respond to the result in a statement.
It has not yet been confirmed if the group is representative of all leaders who threw their efforts behind the Yes vote.
“Recognition in the constitution of the descendants of the original and continuing owners of Australia would have been a great advance for Australians. Alas, the majority have rejected it,” the statement began.
“For more than six years, we have explained to our nation why the Voice was our great hope to achieve real change for our families and communities.”
The statement went on to thank a handful of supportive parties, including Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and “members of the Teals, Greens, Nationals and Independents who stood by us [with] particular respect to the Liberal parliamentarians who bravely advocated for the voice”.
“Now is not the time to dissect the reasons for this tragic outcome. This will be done in the weeks, years and decades to come.
“Now is the time for silence, to mourn and deeply consider the consequence of this outcome.”
“To our people we say: do not shed tears. This rejection was never for others to issue.
“The truth is that rejection was always ours to determine. The truth is that we offered this recognition and it has been refused.
“We now know where we stand in this our own country. Always was. Always will be.”
The statement concluded by suggesting that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags be lowered to half mast during the week of silence to acknowledge the result.
On Saturday night, the Voice referendum joined the long list of Australian referendums that did not pass, now 37 in total.
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