Australia has voted “no” in The Voice To Parliament referendum and with the news now spread it seems fair to say the world has expressed disappointment in the result.
In the US, CNN said that the result was a blow to the political processes of the country and would have devastating consequences for First Nations people.
“With a two-letter word, Australians struck down the first attempt at constitutional change in 24 years, a move experts say will inflict lasting damage on First Nations people and suspend any hopes of modernising the nation’s founding document.”
“During months of campaigning, the No vote gained momentum with slogans that appealed to voter apathy – ‘If you don’t know, vote No’ – and a host of other statements designed to instil fear, according to experts, including that it would divide Australia by race and be legally risky, despite expert advice to the contrary.”
In the UK, the BBC highlighted the division of the campaign, saying that political leaders “were criticised over their appeal to undecided voters with a ‘Don’t know? Vote no’ message, and accused of running a campaign based on misinformation about the effects of the plan”.
The BBC also highlighted the uncertainty of any next steps, saying “the result leaves Mr Albanese searching for a way forward with his vision for the country, and a resurgent opposition keen to capitalise on its victory”.
Singaporean newspaper The Strait Times also questioned what was next, saying the outcome was a blow for Australia’s image on the world stage.
“Australian voters on Saturday resoundingly rejected a historic referendum on Aboriginal rights in a move that risks damaging the country’s international reputation and marked a personal, though not necessarily political, blow for Prime Minister Anthony Albanese,” Strait Times reporter Jonathan Pearlman wrote.
There were similar sentiments in New Zealand, with news website Stuff saying it would be “embarrassing” if the referendum didn’t pass. Once it became clear the “no” vote had won, reporting on the fallout and finger-pointing dominated the headlines.
“The campaign for change gained only 41 per cent of the national vote and lost in every state after years of debate over constitutional reform, igniting claims from the Yes camp that its rivals engaged in lies to fool the electorate,” Stuff reported on Sunday.
“The prime minister sought to calm advocates for change who accused the No side of “horrible” tactics to destroy the Voice, which was proposed by Indigenous leaders in a statement at Uluru six years ago.”
It’s definitely not our finest day when the general international consensus seems to be that the “no” result has damaged the reputation of the country, set back indigenous rights movements by years if not decades, and and has inflicted “lasting damage” on the people and politics of Australia.