Tasmania Leaning Towards No Vote At Divisive Voice Referendum

Written by:
30 August 2023
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“It is clear that Tasmanians are forming a consensus around a ‘No’ vote at the forthcoming referendum, due to concerns the community is being divided by the Voice debate, and a belief that it will not deliver better outcomes for indigenous communities,” said Daniel Wild, Deputy Executive Director of the Institute of Public Affairs.

Ahead of the Prime Minister’s announcement today of the referendum date, new polling research by the IPA suggests Tasmania, a critical swing state, is heading toward a ‘No’ vote, which could be game-changing for the outcome of the referendum.

When Tasmanians were asked: “Australians will be required to vote in a referendum on the following matter, ‘to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice’. Voting in the referendum is compulsory for eligible Australian citizens. Even if it is just a slight leaning, how do you intend on voting?” the responses were:

  • No: 53%
  • Yes: 42%
  • Undecided: 5%

The polling of over 1,156 Tasmanian voters was conducted by an independent market research agency Insightfully on 21 August 2023. Full results and survey methodology are available in attached documentation.

Tasmanians of every age group and in each of the state’s federal electorates indicated a likely ‘No’ vote, with young Tasmanians (aged 18-34) the most likely to vote ‘No’.

“While the ‘No’ vote is clearly ahead, the Voice to Parliament debate has divided the Tasmanian community along gender, age, and political lines, and this new research suggests Tasmanian see voting ‘No’ as a way of achieving unity,” said Mr Wild.

The research also found only one-third of Tasmanians believe the Voice to Parliament will deliver better outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

“It is clear that Tasmanians have significant reservations about how a Canberra-based Voice to Parliament on the mainland could deliver better practical outcomes for Indigenous Australians, this has also been reflected in IPA research on South Australians attitude to the Voice,” said Mr Wild.

The 26-page Uluru Statement from the Heart, which first established the concept of the Voice to Parliament, and which the Prime Minister recently admitted to not reading, also commits the nation to a Treaty process, with the Voice as the first step.

The survey reveals that close to 70% of Tasmanians are either concerned or unsure that the Voice would lead to a treaty or reparations.

“The revelations that the Voice is the first step on a plan for a treaty has clearly been a cause of concern for many Tasmanians and has created another source of division in the community,” said Mr Wild.

“Putting race at the heart of governing is both divisive and disruptive, Tasmanians are alert to this, and it would seem are likely to vote ‘No’ to keep their community united.”

To download the IPA’s research click here.

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