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Why we said 'NO bloody way'

By John Mikkelsen - posted Wednesday, 18 October 2023

After 18 long months of dominating the airwaves, TV screens and opinion columns, Australians have finally been able to have their say on The Voice referendum. And collectively we didn't just say "No" - we shouted "NO Bloody Way, Hell NO, Bugger off Albo, Tell 'Im He's Dreamin".…

Figuratively of course, otherwise our votes would have been counted as informal, just like an X on the ballot, but that's the clear message the count displayed in Aussie vernacular. Vote No prevailed in all six states, with only a very small proportion of mainly inner-city Green/ Teal electorates actually voting Yes along with the ACT Canberra Bubble including bureaucrats and Press Gallery media.

South Australia, touted as a possible crucial State in gaining a necessary four-State winning majority, has voted No in every electorate, as did the Northern Territory with its high indigenous population.


Other Yes hopes, Tasmania and Victoria, also returned clear No majorities and even Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney's seat of Barton voted 55 per cent No.

How did Prime Minister Anthony Albanese get it so wrong at reading the vibe of the Australian people while trying to sell the vibe of an undefined Voice permanently etched in our Constitution to divide us on the basis of race?

Even in the closing stages, while sitting in the red dust at the foot of Uluru swatting flies and swallowing a few, he refused to swallow the latest poll figures showing the Referendum was doomed to fail even in a majority of Labor electorates. He mockingly suggested the pollsters hadn't actually contacted anyone in their claimed analysis.

Perhaps his obstinance was backed by the knowledge his pet project was backed by a $100 million war chest of corporate dollars including big banks, retailers and mining companies

Even Qantas painted huge Yes logos on its planes and provided free flights to Yes Campaigners.

Now heads should roll (figuratively) at board rooms facing angry shareholders around the country.


Almost all major churches (with the exception of Presbyterians), along with leading sporting codes and an assortment of famous Australians from all walks of life including former Australians of the Year, also pushed The Voice as "the right thing to do." With Johnny Farnham's "The Voice" featuring in TV ads, what could possibly go wrong?

The all-up cost of the referendum now stated at $450 million plus the massive advertising splurge would have to be well over half a billion dollars - now money down the drain. It could have helped the plight not just of indigenous people but all Australians struggling to survive in a rapidly escalating cost of living crisis, including the homeless and marginalised of all races and skin colour.

Here in our coastal enclave on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, our free local paper Noosa Today arrived on the eve of the poll with a repeat of a full-page Yes ad featuring prominent local residents including tennis great Evonne Goolagong Cawley, famous playwright David Williamson and a former Noosa Mayor Bob Abbott, who was the hero of a successful shire de-amalgamation push about a decade ago. Each explained why they were voting Yes and urged others to do the same, but in our electorate of Wide Bay, No is running at 75 percent.

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About the Author

John Mikkelsen is a long term journalist, former regional newspaper editor, now freelance writer formerly of Gladstone in CQ, but now in Noosa. He is also the author of Amazon Books memoir Don't Call Me Nev.

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