The crushing defeat of Australia’s divisive Voice referendum

Australia’s Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, urged his fellow Australians to take ‘the opportunity to make history’ today. And they did, but not in the way that Albanese had so fervently hoped. His government’s referendum, which aimed to change the country’s constitution to entrench an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisory voice to Australia’s parliament and executive government, was defeated by a majority of voters in all Australian states. The final margin, 59 per cent to 41 per cent between Yes and No, was not just decisive. It was a landslide of resounding proportions, almost a mirror reversal of the polled support for the Voice as recently as April. The biggest

Fraser Nelson

Why did Australia vote No in the Voice referendum?

I’m in Sydney for the Voice referendum result – and it’s already over. No has won, by what looks to be a 60/40 margin. So an ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice’ will not be added to Australia’s democratic apparatus after an Aboriginal-led campaign asking Australians to reject identity politics. The results had heavy overtones of Brexit: affluent cities voting Yes and the left-behind areas voting No. The Northern Territory, which has the highest concentration of aboriginal Australians, looks to have rejected the proposal by 65/35. Aussies have voted to protect the principle of everyone being equal before the law and in parliament. It’s hard to describe what the campaign

Matthew Parris, Dan Hitchens and Leah McLaren

23 min listen

Matthew Parris, just back from Australia, shares his thoughts on the upcoming referendum on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice (01:08). Dan Hitchens looks at church congregations and wonders why some are on the up, while others are in a spiral of decline (08:32), and Leah McLaren describes the delights of audio and tells us why young children should be heard, but not seen (17:57). Produced and presented by Linden Kemkaran

Australia’s disastrous indigenous voice referendum

My partner and I have just returned from the most magical trip. As guests of Western Australia’s tourist board we’ve driven almost 1,500 miles across the top left-hand corner of the Australian continent. This is the north-west: a landscape like nowhere else on the planet. Three times the size of England, they call it the Kimberley. I had expected to find Aboriginal people living in these landscapes. They used to, for 60,000 years Starting from a town called Broome (easy to fly there) we made it overland to Darwin in the Northern Territory. We took about ten days in an all-singing, all-dancing Toyota camper van, sometimes sleeping under the stars,

We could learn a thing or two from Swiss democracy

There was another referendum in Switzerland over the weekend. This one was about protecting the young from the evils of tobacco by banning advertising anywhere children might see it. This strikes me as a good deal more liberal than the measure from New Zealand’s mildly fascistic Jacinda Ardern, who insists that young people must never smoke at all, ever, or indeed the situation here where none of us is allowed actually to see a cigarette packet in case it gives us ideas. But it’s not just cigarette advertisements that the Swiss were voting on. There are other referendums on animal (and human) experiments in research as well as a couple

Television, not social media, is fracturing our society

All it took for the Twitter mob to descend on me was a retweet from Michael Gove. Message after message called for a resignation. Often it wasn’t entirely clear who the target was: me, the leader of a medium-sized youth charity, or him, the second best known member of the Cabinet. What on earth was in this few short sentences that had unlocked the world’s bile and aggression? Gove had committed the cardinal sin of recommending a book I have written. Ironically enough, it is a book on why our societies have become so divided and how we fix them. It is blindingly obvious to most of us why our societies have become