If you’re a supporter of the “yes” vote in the upcoming “the Voice” referendum, I won’t sugarcoat it—the latest polls make for grim reading. The wind has been blowing in the “no” vote’s direction for months now, and let’s not forget, this is no ordinary vote; it’s a constitutional amendment that requires a double majority. That’s a majority of states (at least four out of six) and a majority of the population saying “yes.”
Taking a look at the Resolve Political Monitor’s latest data, it’s hard to put a positive spin on it. Support for the Voice initiative has been steadily sliding, and now it’s not just a national trend; even Victoria, a state known for embracing some questionable ideas, has dipped below 50% support for the Voice to Parliament. With this trend firmly in place for a year, it’s a tough ask to expect a miraculous turnaround before referendum day. Not impossible, mind you, but certainly not a safe bet. The bookies are offering five and a half to one odds for those hopeful souls who believe in a last-minute “yes” surge. Personally, I wouldn’t be putting my life savings on it.
The “yes” campaign has enjoyed a rather charmed existence throughout this whole journey. They’ve had celebrity endorsements, corporate backing, generous media support, and the luxury of fact-checkers to sweep their contradictions and inconsistencies under the rug. Yet, despite these advantages, they find themselves losing ground. It raises a glaring question: Is there something fundamentally wrong with their campaign or the very idea they’re trying to sell?
While it’s not set in stone, it’s increasingly likely that the “no” vote will come out on top. So, what’s the right way for “no” supporters to react? It’s tempting to gloat and rub it in the faces of the “yes” campaign’s supporters, especially after a year of being labeled as ignorant racists and liars. But here’s the thing—we need to be the grown-ups in the room.
When the referendum dust settles, some “yes” supporters will be crestfallen, while others might use the loss as an opportunity for introspection. As advocates for open dialogue and crossing political divides, we must be ready for meaningful conversations. Contrary to the stereotype, being a “no” voter doesn’t mean we’re content with the status quo. We all recognize the real, pressing issues faced by Indigenous Australians—lower life expectancy, domestic abuse, substance abuse, and sky-high incarceration rates. We may differ in our solutions, but we share a concern for these problems.
As the “no” vote gains momentum, let’s prepare ourselves for what comes next. Instead of gloating, let’s create an environment where “yes” supporters feel comfortable discussing their viewpoints. Sore winners won’t get us anywhere. We should be ready for substantive conversations with the other side when the referendum concludes. This is our chance to collaborate and find genuine solutions to the challenges Indigenous Australians face.
The Voice Department referendum is on the horizon, and it’s increasingly likely that the “no” vote will triumph. Rather than relishing a potential win, let’s focus on nurturing unity and dialogue. Let’s be the mature voices in the room, ready to engage in constructive discussions that lead to practical solutions for Indigenous Australians. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not about winning or losing; it’s about working together for a better future.
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