One of the leading campaigners for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament has described Australia as a ‘nation frozen in time’ in an attempt to explain what went wrong during the historic referendum campaign.
Thomas Mayo was one of the most divisive figures throughout the campaign, and past comments he’d made linking the Voice to treaty and truthtelling were seized upon by critics in the early days as examples of the potential risks associated with the proposal.
Now, almost a month on from referendum night – in which 60 per cent of Australia and all six states voted against the proposal – Mr Mayo has tried to explain the result on the world stage.
Speaking to BBC UK’s ‘The Inquiry’ podcast, Mr Mayo laid blame squarely at the feet of the Opposition for their decision to oppose the Voice.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had committed to a Voice from the moment he took the top job, and supporters say the Opposition politicised the proposal for low level political point scoring.
Thomas Mayo was one of the most divisive figures throughout the campaign, and past comments he’d made linking the Voice to treaty and truthtelling were seized upon by critics in the early days as examples of the potential risks associated with the proposal
‘We were fighting on so many fronts, but the ultimate destruction of the opportunity came when the Opposition decided to go against it,’ he told host David Baker.
‘No referendum has ever won in this country without bipartisan support, but especially because they fought against it so hard, so vehemently.’
Mr Mayo acknowledged the Yes campaigns failed to deliver clear and concise messaging, a fact which confused voters and, in some instances, web site drove them to seek information from the No camp.
Now, as a result of the decisive No vote on October 14, Mr Mayo describes Australia as ‘a nation frozen in time’.
‘[It] isn’t a good place for Indigenous people,’ he said.
‘This isn’t a good thing for our country. We need to look at why this referendum that was so important to the national interests failed.’
There were tears and strong emotions on referendum night as Yes supporters realised – very quickly – there was no path forward to victory
Pictured: A Yes supporter reacts at the official Yes campaign event on referendum night