The failure of the Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum has “unleashed a tsunami of racism” according to a collective of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups.
Indigenous groups who supported the Voice took a week of silence after 60 per cent of the country voting down the proposal.
Now that the week of silence is over the groups say Australians who voted ‘No’ commited “a shameful act whether knowingly or not.”
The open letter, addressed to the Prime Minister, also says First Nations communities are in shock and grieving what it calls the “rejection” of the ‘Yes’ Campaigns efforts to “pursue reconciliation in good faith.”
It’s unclear which groups in particular support the open letter, with the ABC reporting some groups have distanced themselves from the response.
The unsigned letter says it has the “collective insights and views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, community members and organisations who supported the Yes campaign.”
The letter points to the lack of bipartisanship as the main reason the proposal was rejected.
“The support for the referendum collapsed from the moment Liberal and National Party leaders, Mr Dutton and Mr Littleproud, chose to oppose the Voice to Parliament proposal after more than a decade of bipartisan support,” the letter reads.
“The proposal was tracking 60 per cent support compared to 40 per cent opposition for several years until the National and Liberal parties preferred wanton political damage over support for some of this country’s most disadvantaged people. There was little the Yes campaign could do to countervail this.
The truth is that the majority of Australians have committed a shameful act whether knowingly or not, and there is nothing positive to be interpreted from it.”
The letter also states leaders will be engaging with their communities to figure out what’s next, highlighting the possibility of a legislated voice to parliament saying the “rejection of constitutional recognition, will not deter us from speaking up to governments.”
It also reaffirms the groups commitment to the Uluru Statement of the Heart, which calls for a Makarrata commission to oversee truth-telling and treaty.
“We have faith the that the upswelling of support through this Referendum has ignited a fire for many to walk with us on our journey towards justice.
Our truths have been silenced for too long.”