After a gruelling six week campaign, millions of Australians have cast their vote in the first referendum since 1999.

Polls have closed in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, and the ACT.

Voters in Queensland, South Australia, the Northern Territory, and Western Australia have until 6pm local time to attend a polling booth and write “yes” or “no” to a question about enshrining a Voice to Parliament in the constitution.

Then, Australian Electoral Commission officials will begin the task of counting votes as soon.

It’s set to be much easier than counting in a federal election, with workers needing to sort ballots into just three piles: yes, no, and informal.

The AEC indicated earlier this week that the first results could come in from NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT from as early as 6.30.

There is a chance a result is not known on Saturday night; if the margin is close enough that postal votes are required to determine a result.

The AEC will count every vote cast on Saturday, pre-poll, and some postal votes on Saturday night, but postal votes can be submitted for another 13 days.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is in Canberra and no matter the result, will address the nation later tonight – although likely not until polls close in WA.

Follow along below.


Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said no matter the result on Saturday night, the government would honour the decision because “Australians always get it right”.

“We will accept whatever decision the Australian people make,” she said on Sky News.

“But I will say this, this has been an opportunity to give recognition to First Nations Australians, the recognition that they have asked for.”

Her panelmate Anthony Dillon, an Aboriginal man who has advocated against the Voice, said “we have voices already, so it seems a bit redundant”.

Nationals Leader David Littleproud, appearing on the same panel, said Mr Albanese had “missed an opportunity to bring the country together” during the process.

He said the Prime Minister had showed hubris in forging ahead with the referendum after the Coalition ruled out bipartisan support.

“This sits solely at his feet, because he’s the one who’s taken this to the Australian people,” he said.

Chris Kenny, a vocal supporter of the Voice, conceded there had been some hubris on Mr Albanese’s part.

“I don’t think he ever believed that the Liberals would outright oppose it,” he said.

“This is history on the national project of reconciliation. And sadly, what’s likely to happen is we’re going to end up with a country that’s deflated and divided on reconciliation … and I think the political class, both major parties, and the media, have let the country down.

“We have not had a mature debate about what’s on the table.”

Former Liberal MP Pat Farmer, who spent six months running across the country advocating for a Yes vote, said the division pushed by certain political parties had spoked the Voice’s chances of success.

“I’ve said all along this is a humanitarian issue, it’s about closing the gap, rather than being a political issue,” he told Sky News.

“But nevertheless, it’s the way it is, and the Prime Minister has said he will respect the decision at the end of the day.”

He said if a Yes vote did defy poll projections and win on Saturday night, “there will be a change in leadership”.

“People like Julian Leeser will have to step up to the plate to show a new direction for the party,” he said.

“If No gets up then the Liberal Party will feel that they have this mandate for them … and they’ll continue on down this track.”


Melbourne voters were left outraged after being forced to queue for more than two hours on Saturday.

The polling booth in Docklands was the only station available for the tens of thousands of people who live in the city’s centre.

The AEC had experienced difficulties shoring up more locations for Melburnians to vote.

Appearing on Sky News earlier, Melbourne’s Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece said voters having to wait hours to cast their vote was “unacceptable”.

“What we all agree on is that the administration of the voting process in a democracy should be carried out well, and it‘s been a real fail here in Melbourne,” he said.

“Particularly considering we have compulsory voting in this country so we want to make it as easy as possible to cast their vote but we’ve got long queues in Melbourne because hadn’t had that second booth in the CBD.”

Read more here.


South Australia has shaped up to become a bellwether state in the Voice to Parliament referendum.

But an exit poll at booths in the electorate of Boothby on Saturday suggest the state, which legislated a state Voice earlier this year, is on track to vote No.

A total of 115 voters across the Adelaide electorate of Boothby were asked how they voted as they left four polling booths. 58 registered a No vote while 56 went for Yes.

The tight numbers deliver a 50.8 per cent No majority versus 49.2 per cent for Yes.

The tight numbers spell trouble for Yes because Boothby is a Labor electorate, currently represented by Louise-Miller Frost.

The Yes campaign needed to run up its vote totals in Labor territory to balance out conservative electorates that lean more heavily towards No.

Read more here.

Read related topics:Indigenous Voice To Parliament


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By Rahul

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