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Australia has awoken deeply divided after the Voice referendum was overwhelming defeated following months of campaigning.

Celebrities, politicians and other high-profile figures from both sides of the debate have reacted with a mix of anger and dismay.

Indigenous former footballer Anthony Mundine launched an extraordinary spray last night when the outcome was declared, saying the Voice would have “enslaved humanity”.

“I’m just disappointed that a lot of people … that I thought that sold out, got paid to push this yes campaign that divided friends and family,” Mundine said in an Instagram story.

“I want Australia to walk as one, white and black … no matter what you are. But this was nothing about that.”

Mundine, who was a world champion boxer following his NRL career, took aim at the Yes campaign for attempting to “use Aboriginal people”.

“They spent millions … they can plan all they want, they can try … and rig it, whatever … this was meant to happen,” he said.

“A lot of people got found out. It’s bad, man. A lot of people sold out for money and greed. I never go against the truth. I am for the human race.”

Popular ABC presenter Tony Armstrong shared a post on Instagram shortly after the vote was declared, showing the Aboriginal flag with its yellow centre in the shape of a broken heart.

“Shattered,” Armstrong wrote.

Former Olympian Nova Peris, who was a Senator for the Labor Party between 2013 and 2016, said she felt “sick”.

“It’s gut wrenching, it makes me sick, it’s a really sad indictment,” Ms Peris said.

“Australia has pulled the shutters down and said we choose not to see you, we choose not to hear you, we won’t give you a voice you’ve been asking for.”

Last night, television star Julia Zemiro was one of the first celebrities to react to the news, posting an emotional message on Instagram. Her post was then shared by comedian Celeste Barber.

Actress and comedian Magda Szubanski also shared her thoughts online, posting that she was “deeply saddened” by the result.

Campaigners speak

Yes campaigner Dean Parkin was emotional in his speech to supporters at an event in Sydney, saying his side couldn’t compete with “the single largest misinformation campaign this country has ever seen”.

“We did all we could to alleviate doubts,” he said. “We did all we could to ensure the proposal was strong.

“We believe that the proposal was strong. We believe the proposal remains strong.”

Yes23 campaigner Dean Parkin was emotional in his speech to supporters at a Yes event in Sydney, saying his side couldn’t compete with “the single largest misinformation campaign this country has ever seen”.

“We did all we could to alleviate doubts,” he said. “We did all we could to ensure the proposal was strong.

“We believe that the proposal was strong. We believe the proposal remains strong.”

Thomas Mayo, a vocal Yes supporter, was also devastated.

“We put our faith in the Australian people,” he said. “I think they were ready, but there has been some really horrible political campaigning. It’s been disgusting to be frank.”

Professor Marcia Langton shared her feelings on NITV in the wake of the decision.

“It’s very clear that reconciliation is dead,” she said. “A majority of Australians have said no to an invitation from Indigenous Australia to give us a say in matters that affect our lives, advice that doesn’t need to be taken by the Parliament.

“I think the No campaigners have a lot to answer for in poisoning Australia against this proposition and against Indigenous Australia.”

What the pollies said

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who made enshrining the Voice in the Constitution a central pillar of his agenda after Labor won government, was emotional.

“When you aim high, sometimes you fall short,” Mr Albanese said at a press conference on Saturday night. “And tonight, we acknowledge, understand and respect that we have.

“Because this moment of disagreement does not define us. And it will not divide us. We are not yes voters or no voters. We are all Australians. And it is as Australians together, that we must take our country beyond this debate without forgetting why we had it in the first place.”

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, who was a vocal opponent of the Voice, said he respected the views of those who voted Yes.

“To those of you who voted yes, let me say these few words: as the leader of the Coalition, who has supported the no campaign, while I disagree with your position, I respect your decision to have voted yes,” Mr Dutton said at a press conference.

“And while yes and no voters may hold differences of opinion, these opinions of difference do not diminish a love for our country or our regard for each other.

“This is the referendum that Australia did not need to have. The proposal and the process should have been designed to unite Australians, not to divide us.”

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott also spoke on Sky News, telling the country’s Indigenous population that they must not view the nation’s rejection of the Voice as a rejection of them personally.

“Australia has rejected a proposal which never should have been brought to a referendum.”

Yes supported by star power

A number of well-known sporting and entertainment figures have previously endorsed the Voice.

That included Indigenous Olympian Cathy Freeman and basketballer Patty Mills.

Ms Freeman said she was voting Yes “to recognise Indigenous peoples in our constitution for the very first time, to give our kids the very best start in life, an equal start in life. And to open our hearts and change our future”.

Australian model and beauty pageant titleholder Jesinta Franklin, who is married to ex AFL player and Indigenous athlete Buddy Franklin, has also been pushing for the referendum to pass.

On Saturday, Ms Franklin shared a moving 11th hour plea to Instagram writing that Australia was “A first-world country where their Indigenous people are showing up in third world statistics and issues”.

Penrith Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary announced his support for the Yes vote in a social media video posted immediately after his team’s NRL Grand Final win. “No Voice, no choice. Come on Australia, vote Yes,” Cleary said in the video.

With the Socceroos team in the spotlight after losing 1-0 against England last night, they shared their support for the Yes campaign earlier on Saturday over social media. Players Andrew Redmayne, Mat Ryan and Jackson Irvin took snaps of themselves posing wearing Yes T-shirts at the Wembley Stadium in London.

Comedian Celeste Barber had also been vocal about her Yes stance, writing on Instagram to her 10 million followers last month that “The current approach (to help Indigenous Australians) is not working”.

Homegrown Hollywod star Cate Blanchett also lent her voice to the referendum in July.

The two-time Oscar winner said she was saddened by the “fear being generated about a really positive moment”.

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By Rahul

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