Thomas Mayo, a key supporter of the yes campaign, admitted that the loss of the Indigenous voice was “embarrassing,” but he supported ideas for an Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander advisory council that might exist outside of legislation.
He also urged legislators to not abandon plans for state-based treaties and future reconciliation programs, voicing fears that Indigenous people may “continue to go backwards” without fundamental changes in how governments formulate policies on Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander matters. He emphasized the importance of treating Indigenous people with respect and dignity.
“It is important to me. Mayo made these comments to Radio National on Tuesday. “Any delay or regression in Indigenous affairs will only speed up the way that things are getting worse,” Mayo said.
“We’re in a terrible position. Any kind of step backwards is cause for concern. These conversations need to take place with indigenous people, and I urge governments and political parties not to give up on having them just because the referendum was unsuccessful. Continue to have conversations with Indigenous communities and their leaders. Listen to what we have to say so that we can fill in these blanks.”
After the vote on the 14th of October to enshrine the voice was unsuccessful, prominent Indigenous figures and organizations are currently discussing their options for the next step to take.
The Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, has stated that he intends to listen to the wishes of Indigenous people before determining the next course of action that his administration would take. In a statement that was issued on Sunday, supporters of the voice reaffirmed their commitment to the Uluru declaration from the heart and signaled their intention to “regather in due course and develop a plan for our future direction.” However, not all supporters of the voice backed the statement.
One of the most recognizable faces associated with the Yes23 campaign was Mayo, who is of Kaurareg Aboriginal and Kalkalgal, Erubamle Torres Strait Islander descent. In an interview that aired on RN Breakfast on Tuesday, he stated that the voice should have been considered a “lay down misere” – sometimes known as an absolute certainty – because it had received support from as much as 60 percent of respondents in polls. However, he asserted that its failure was the consequence of “lies” told by its opponents, and that the end outcome would be detrimental to Australia’s reputation in the international community.
“We did fall for misinformation,” Mayo admitted. “We did.”
“I find that to be quite embarrassing. When we still have so many individuals on the margins of society and we make decisions about them, it is difficult for Australia to talk about human rights to other countries like China at this point in time.
“When it comes to international relations and human rights, it is difficult for us to speak to others about their record when we haven’t yet closed the chapter on our own colonial history,” said one person.
The outcome of the referendum has caused numerous state governments to reevaluate their policies toward treaties and reconciliation. As a consequence of this, the plans for a state treaty in New South Wales will not advance beyond the consultation and planning stages until after the next election.
Mayo urged legislators “not to walk away from” such ideas and made it clear that efforts would continue to establish mechanisms that would allow Indigenous perspectives to be heard.
If we don’t make an effort to listen to the people living in remote villages and Indigenous people in general, I’m afraid that we will keep falling behind, just like we did before the referendum. “At this point, we are moving backwards, and we squandered that opportunity on the 14th of October,” he stated.
Mayo was one of the people who backed the open letter from Indigenous leaders and organizations that was published on Sunday. The letter leveled scathing critiques at the “no” campaign and the outcome of the referendum, but it was not signed by any of the signatories. The Uluru conversation also posted the letter on their website for public consumption.
It is clear to Australia that the statement was the subject of extensive back-and-forth discussion among important members of the yes campaign, and that not all major campaigners have endorsed it.
According to the statement, Australia made the decision to become less liberal and democratic when it rejected the right of its citizens to have their voices heard on issues that have an impact on the nation.
“Our right to be heard continues to exist both as a democratic imperative for this nation and as our inherent right to self-determination.” “Our right to be heard continues to exist as a democratic imperative for this nation.”
Mayo stated that Indigenous community leaders were “ourselves working through how we propose any major steps forward” and expressed support for the establishment of such an organization.
“It should be clear by now that we do require a voice. “It’s for sure that we got this proposal right, that people who have decisions made specifically about them should have a structure, a representative body to speak to those decisions,” he said. “It’s for sure that we got this proposal right.”