Natalie Barr has described the Voice to Parliament referendum as a “dismal” failure in a brutal question to a senior Labor MP.

The Sunrise Host took Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to task over the cost of the vote after more than 60 per cent of Australians voted no at the referendum.

“Something, your government, hung its hat on failed dismally across this country – it was a wipeout,” Ms Barr said on Monday during the show.

“So what do you learn from that? $400 million down the drain to something people said ‘nup’.”

Ms Plibersek responded that the result had been “disappointing” but added that there was “a lot of goodwill” to close the gap in Australia.

“It is important to take a little bit of time and just let the dust settle on this and to really think through our next steps to make sure that we are working in a way that brings Australians together to reduce disadvantage in this country,” she said.

Ms Barr also addressed a similar question to Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, demanding that Labor explain why it made Australians go to the polls.

“How can you say that this is anything but a massive failure of your government, you hung your hat on it,” she said.

“You failed to explain it, you didn’t allay people’s fears over land seizures, over payouts, you didn’t even explain what it would do to Aboriginal people in this country.”

Mr Marles said that the government would focus on other ways to support Indigenous Australians after the shocking result for the Voice.

“We won’t be moving forward with constitutional reform now, that’s clearly what has been expressed by the Australian people,” he said.

“I think moving forward, our focus needs to be on really putting an even greater effort on closing the gap and on reconciliation.”

Ms Barr then interrupted Mr Marles saying he hoped the government had explained the Voice to Australians.

“I don’t think you did at all, I don’t think anyone thinks you explained,” she said.

“Why didn’t you call it? When you knew this was going to fail, once (Peter Dutton) pulled support and you knew how hard it was, why didn’t you pull it?”

Opinions and analysis has flowed in the wake of the referendum loss, with politicians, journalists and academics each sharing their views on the resounding no vote.

ABC Indigenous Affairs reporter Isabella Higgins warned Australians warned that the result will “change the way Indigenous Australians want to interact with the rest of the country”.

“It will change whether kindness is the best approach,” she said on Insiders on Sunday.

“I think often in the community it is well understood that black anger is not tolerated and so we see leaders pull in their rage, pull in their sadness and constantly use language or generosity, use graciousness to appeal to the Australian people.

“After this I think there will be a generation who are burnt by this and who won’t be interested in doing that anymore.”

She said that she would not be “surprised” if Indigenous people turn toward Lidia Thorpe’s views on “black sovereignty” to “challenge the Australian regime”.

That sentiment has already been seen on the ABC’s youth radio station Triple J, which played protest song Treaty by Yothu Yindi for an hour on Sunday evening.

Presenter and musician Nooky took a strong stance on the program, telling Indigenous Australians that “we ain’t licking our wounds today, we’re sharpening our spears”.

“Last night was the most overt, unconcealed manifestation of racism I’ve ever experienced in my whole life,” he told listeners.

Read related topics:Indigenous Voice To Parliament


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By Rahul

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