Voice Referendum turnout strong

Tea Gardens Public School polling place advocates got along just fine (L-R) – Tracy (yes), Greg (no), Kylie Kaye (yes).

The FIRST referendum in a generation, regarding the First Nations Voice to Parliament, occurred on Saturday, 14 October.

Visiting two polling places in Tea Gardens-Hawks Nest, News Of The Area was reassured by nary a trace of politically-charged animosity, as proponents from either side talked amicably in between waves of voters.

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“Everyone has been respectful, all seem happy that we live in a democracy,” said Kylie Kay, booth captain for the ‘yes’ vote outside Tea Gardens Public School (TGPS).

Neil Renfree, ‘no’ booth captain at TGPS, agreed.

“There has been a very friendly mood, a very motivated turnout today, long queues from 8am till 11am – everyone will accept the outcome here.”

Mr Renfree asserted that ’no’ pamphlets had been waylaid by union members in Canberra, forcing locals to print ‘no’ pamphlets at their own expense.

Hawks Nest Scouts Hall polling place, less clearly signposted, saw a smaller turnout.

Marg Churton, ‘yes’ advocate at Hawks Nest, said, “Everyone’s been great, calm, respectful and nice.”

‘Yes’ advocate Chris Rands remarked, “It’s a wonderful day, people on both sides are friendly, kept their humour, it’s nice to see them out exercising their right.”

Most voters, at both locations, seemed wholly resolute well before arriving, choosing to selectively gravitate or avoid the advocates outside.

The referendum clearly had a resounding “no” result across the country by Sunday morning – Lyne Federal electorate recorded around 75 percent “no” votes, with “no” numbers at each polling location many times more than the “yes” result.

Full details by electorate, area and polling place are available at https://tallyroom.aec.gov.au/ReferendumDivisionResults-29581-130.htm.

Worimi Elder Auntie Dr Liz McEntyre told NOTA, “I was a scrutineer at TGPS polling place, and I am pleased with the number of people in the awesome community who voted ‘yes’.”

“We all love and are connected to Worimi Barray in many ways, and that won’t change.”

Worimi Elders have chosen to respect the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress’ ‘Week of Silence for the Voice’, see here for more details – https://www.caac.org.au/news/a-week-of-silence-for-the-voice/.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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