The referendum result is a profound disappointment to us all.
Despite this setback the work of reconciliation will continue. It is needed now more than ever.
As we grapple with this weekend’s outcome, we must also grapple with the ugly acts of racism and disinformation that have been a feature of the debate despite regular calls for respectful engagement.
All Australians must ask ourselves whether this is a standard we are comfortable with.
While yesterday’s results are saddening, they are not the first setback to the aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres StraitIslander people.
This is a familiar story and one that has never deterred our Elders and leaders to be a voice for change. We pay homage to their courage and example.
Reconciliation Victoria is buoyed by the enormous contributions of our supporters who worked the length and breadth of Victoria during this campaign and who, as part of a movement, have worked to change the country for the better in the past 30 years.
We are encouraged by the public support of abroad range of people including Australia’s young people and those from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
Yesterday, as a nation we stumbled on our reconciliation journey. We must acknowledge and sit with this.
However, we are confident that after dusting ourselves off, the 45%* of Victorians who voted Yes, and those who voted No - but are committed to better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people - will unite for a more just Australia.
Now is a time for healing.
We are determined to continue the journey of reconciliation in Victoria and urge you to continue as well.
Our focus will remain firmly on bridging the knowledge gap, now so evident in our communities; and we will stay strong in partnership with First Peoples to support self-determination, truth-telling and the path to treaty negotiations in Victoria.
We are committed to walking and working alongside First Peoples leaders and communities, as they determine the course for reconciliation going forward.
As part of a network spanning the country, the Australian Reconciliation Network recognises and celebrates everyone in Victoria who showed up for recognition, for respect, and to support aVoice for First Peoples. We applaud the generosity and effort of everyone involved.
Reconciliation Victoria is a member of the Australian Reconciliation Network, which comprise speak reconciliation bodies from across the country at a national, state and territory level.
*45% of Victorian state results at the time of writing, Monday 16 October.