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Referendum Outcomes and Analyses

Data is from the Australian Electoral Commission website (AEC) AEC Tally Room:

  • Nationally the referendum was defeated: 60.06% NO to 39.94% YES. Furthermore, none of the six States attained a majority YES vote.
  • South Australians voted 64.17% NO to 35.83% YES.
  • Electorate of Adelaide voted 50.66% NO to 49.34% YES
  • City of Unley voted 43.73% NO to 56.26% YES Results from each of the polling booths in the City of Unley have been extracted from the AEC Tally Room website and tallied in the table below:

based on Australian Electoral Commission data

On one hand the results look heartening for the efforts of The Unley Uluru Statement from the Heart Support Group, but it is very difficult to measure how much the efforts of our group influenced the vote in the City of Unley. Pre-polling efforts by our group included community information sessions, door knocking, leaflet dropping, Together Yes conversation groups and special events.

Overall, the Yes Vote in South Australia was extremely disappointing with less than 50% polling YES in all ten Commonwealth Electoral Divisions in the State. However, the silverlining for The Unley Uluru Statement from the Heart Support Group is that the three electorates that overlap with the City of Unley region returned the highest proportion of YES votes in SA – refer to the table below. Data in this table was extracted from the AEC Tally Room website.

On 22 October 2023, Yes Campaign Leaders issued this open letter to the Prime Minister and every Member of the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Commonwealth Parliament. The letter summarises collective insights and views of a group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders. community members and organisations who supported Yes.

The ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods completed a detailed Analysis of the Referendum Results that can be viewed in the Pdf document below, published on 28th November 2023.

The ANU analysis cites that, “Electoral Divisions with a higher per cent of the (2021 Census) population identified as being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander had a lower per cent of yes votes. This reflects the voting patterns of the non-Indigenous population in those divisions, who make up the vast majority of almost all the divisions in Australia.” What the analysis does not mention is that individual polling booths across northern Australia, located in areas where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders numbered more than 50% of the local population, returned some of the highest rates of YES votes – please refer to the next table. This table has been compiled from data on the AEC Tally Room website. An article published in The Guardian in October had identified polling booths where Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait islander People numbered more than 50% of the population as at the 2021 Census.

Of particular note is the Commonwealth Electorate of Lingiari (all of Northern Territory except for Darwin and Palmerston) where No vote outnumbered Yes 56.46% to 43.54%; but as per the table below 24 polling booths in Lingiari returned overwhelming Yes votes, with 10 of those polling booths voting more than 79% in favour of The Voice to Parliament.

Marcia Langton was keynote speaker on Wednesday 29 November at the Kaurna Learning Circle, The University of Adelaide.

Marcia is one of Australia’s most prominent policy advisors and public intellectuals. Professor Langton was a crucial figure in the development of the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. She was Co-chair of the Voice Co-Design Senior Advisory Group with Professor Tom Calma during the Morrison government. She is a co-host of the podcast, The Deep End with Marcia Langton and Aaron Corn, with whom she also recently co-authored the book, Law: The Way of the Ancestors. (From Make History Speaker Series information)