Indigenous leaders have broken their silence in the wake of the failed Voice referendum expressing their shock and disbelief over the “vitriol and hatred” run through the campaign.

The Central Land Council (CLC), one of the largest representative bodies for Aboriginal people living in the NT, said their communities were grieving after the overwhelming majority of Australian’s voted No in last Saturday’s referendum.

“We live in a country that does not know itself,” a CLC statement read.

“Those of us who have been around for a long time know how it feels. We have been here before. We are sad, but we know we must stay strong.

“Others in our communities, especially young people, are in shock and disbelief.”

Last week’s referendum, the result of years of consultation and the request of Indigenous Australians through the 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart, was defeated in every state and territory except the ACT.

Remote Indigenous communities overwhelmingly voted in favour of enshrining an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in Australia’s Constitution.

Independent advocacy organisation, Australian’s for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR), said it was deeply saddened by the result and vowed to continue advocating for treaty and truth.

“It was fair to say that “not everyone who voted ‘no’ is racist but [is] also fair to say that all racists voted ‘no’,” the non-profit wrote on social media.

“The vitriol and hatred that were part of the campaign existed prior to, but were given licence through the process.”

“The overarching theory (that) we are incapable of managing our own affairs is dehumanising and degrading and most of all, deeply flawed.”

Leading Yes campaigner Thomas Mayo said despite a wave of racism being unleashed during the bitter campaign, the movement for Indigenous rights had grown stronger.

In a penned column for The Saturday Paper, the Indigenous leader wrote that he broke down after the referendum defeat and criticised an “abhorrent” No campaign.

“The racist vitriol we felt was at a level not seen for decades in Australia,” he wrote.

“We continue our calls for our voices to be heard, for reform and justice, and we need your ongoing support.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has not yet spoken on the government’s next steps post-referendum but said he was committed to listening to Indigenous Australians.

Read related topics:Indigenous Voice To Parliament


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By Rahul

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