What Happens If The Indigenous Voice To Parliament Referendum Vote Fails?

If Australia votes "no" to a Voice to Parliament, here's what will happen.
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On October 14, 2023, Australia will vote on the Indigenous Voice To Parliament, a change that could see Indigenous Australian voices constitutionally acknowledged in all forms of democracy.

While we wont know the outcome until all of the voting has taken place, early polling has shown that a “no” vote is likely. 

If this happens, you might find yourself wondering what comes next? Where will Australia stand on its reconciliation journey

Below, we explain what to expect if the Indigenous Voice To Parliament doesn’t pass. 

What happens if the referendum doesn’t pass? (Credit: Getty)

What Happens If Australia Votes No On The Indigenous Voice To Parliament Referendum? 

If Australia votes no on the Indigenous Voice To Parliament then the Australian constitution will not be changed.

This means that the First Nations advisory board will not be created, and the country will not have achieved constitutional recognition for First Nations people. 

Professor Cheryl Saunders, from The University Of Melbourne, also says that this outcome could have “serious effects on whether and how the Australian Constitution can be changed for other reasons, which also calls for serious thought.” 

Will Labor Legislate The Indigenous Voice To Parliament Anyway? 

Despite speculation, the government will not legistlate the Indigenous Voice to Parliament if Australia votes no.

‘If Australians vote no, I don’t believe it would be appropriate to then go and legislate anyway,’ prime minister Anthony Albanese has said. 

Will We Get To Find Out Why Australia Voted No? 

Yes, there would likely be a study conducted on the reasons behind the outcome. We will also be given data on which ways different states voted, and how many people voted. 

Vote Yes
Australia will vote tomorrow. (Credit: Getty)

Will There Be Another Indigenous Voice To Parliament Referendum? 

Opposition leader Peter Dutton, who has campaigned for a no vote, has stated that he would hold a second vote to recognise Indigenous people in the constitution. 

Despite this, it’s unlikely (but not impossible) that there will be another opportunity to vote in the near future. 

Where Will Australia Stand On Its Reconciliation Journey? 

Yes campaigner Noel Pearson has warned there is “no plan B” if the referendum is unsuccessful. 

The Prime Minister has also said that while there are still measures to tackle Indigenous disadvantage, they aren’t “as effective as having a body, a voice, to be listened to”.

He also said that he would be “concerned” about where a no vote would leave the country on its reconciliation journey. 

For many people, to go backwards after getting this far, is unthinkable. 

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