Harvey and Waroona shires vote No to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice as referendum defeated

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenHarvey-Waroona Reporter
A No campaign sign outside of the Australind Primary School polling place on Saturday.
Camera IconA No campaign sign outside of the Australind Primary School polling place on Saturday. Credit: Sean Van Der Wielen/South Western Times

The Harvey and Waroona Shires have resoundingly rejected the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice at Saturday’s referendum.

Not a single polling place within both councils voted Yes as residents joined those from across the country in rejecting the proposal.

Polling place workers were kept busy on Saturday as more than 9000 people cast their vote from Lake Clifton in the north to Clifton Park in the south.

By the time polls closed across WA, the referendum had already been defeated.

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All booths across the Harvey and Waroona regions recorded No votes higher than the national average, which at 9am Monday stood at 60.6 per cent.

The highest No vote was recorded at the Lake Clifton Community Centre, with 84.9 per cent of the booth’s 259 votes rejecting the proposed Voice.

The lowest No vote was recorded at Clifton Park Primary School, with 64.7 per cent of its 346 votes cast in the negative.

More than 10,500 people cast their votes before Saturday at the Australind pre-poll voting centre, with 78.6 per cent of votes counting towards No.

Canning MHR Andrew Hastie, who was a vocal No campaigner, thanked volunteers across his electorate on Sunday after it recorded the highest No vote in the State at 76.9 per cent.

“A lot of work goes into a campaign, and Saturday’s result is a testament to your commitment to a better Australia,” he said.

Australind-based elder Dennis Jetta declined to comment on Saturday’s results.

He and the Greater Bunbury Aboriginal Elders Group put their support behind the Yes campaign last week, arguing the Voice would have achieved better outcomes for younger generations of First Nations people.

“(We) feel that our young people have got to talk with government and negotiate what is good for them,” Mr Jetta said.

Reconciliation WA co-chair Carol Innes expressed disappointment in the referendum outcome, arguing the State “can do better”.

“While we are saddened by this result, this is not the first time our people have experienced setbacks to their aspirations,” she said.

“We pay respect to the courage and example of our elders and leaders who have walked this journey for many years.”

Federal Opposition Leader Peter Dutton on Monday backed away from his proposal to hold a second referendum on recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution amid a failure to gain support within the Coalition, including from shadow Indigenous affairs minister Jacinta Nampijinpa Price.

“I think it’s clear that the Australian public is probably over the referendum process for some time,” he told reporters at Parliament House in Canberra.

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