October 14 `another day of mourning’ after No vote in Voice referendum

25 October, 2023

After observing the Week of Silence to grieve the outcome of the Voice referendum, the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) has promised to fight even harder to support and empower Aboriginal peoples in NSW.

“NSWALC will continue to support communities in having their voices heard and stand up for Aboriginal peoples across NSW,” NSWALC Chairperson Cr Danny Chapman said.

“While the result was not totally unexpected going on the various polls beforehand, it’s extremely disappointing now it’s eventuated. We strongly believe the Voice was a way forward to break the systemic cycle of disadvantage and the entrenched way all levels of Government work with Aboriginal people.

“By rejecting this modest and open-hearted invitation, it means October 14 will go down in history as another day of mourning for the large majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in this country”.

What was also deeply disturbing was the way some politicians used the Voice debate to deliberately stoke disharmony and encourage racist discourse. To keep staff well, NSWALC turned off comments on its socials well before the referendum date.

Cr Chapman said the referendum process had proved exhausting and divisive for many communities, and people needed time to heal.  “There’s a wave of different emotions now we know the result, the referendum has been emotionally taxing on the community and our staff. It has brought out the worst of our society,’’ he said.

As Aboriginal people we have had years of setbacks and challenges. We will pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and continue the fight to support and empower Aboriginal peoples in NSW.

“Regardless of the result, NSWALC was always going to continue championing for the rights and interest of Aboriginal people, nothing changes in this space for us. We will continue our work on Closing the Gap initiatives, and continue our support of the Voice as part of the Uluru Statement in full, which we always have and will continue to fight for, particularly through ongoing Treaty and agreement making.’’


We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of the lands where we work as well as across the lands we travel through. We also acknowledge our Elders past, present and emerging.

Artwork Credit: Craig Cromelin, from a painting he did titled, "4 favourite fishing holes". It is a snippet of his growing years on the Lachlan River, featuring yabby, turtle, fish and family.