Voice referendum result a missed opportunity for Australia  

Oct 14, 2023

“We are resilient people, and we will not take a backward step.”

The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) is deeply disappointed by the outcome of today’s Voice to Parliament Referendum, which has seen one of the world’s most prosperous nations fail to seize upon a historic opportunity to make meaningful change for a better future for all Australians. 

This was a seminal moment in terms of Australia’s maturity as a nation. VACCHO believes that this was a missed chance for Australia and will have a detrimental impact on the country’s international standing. 

VACCHO pays tribute to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, health leaders, Community leaders, volunteers, and hundreds of thousands of everyday Australians who have been unwavering in their commitment, dedication, and support of a ‘Yes’ vote. 

VACCHO is calling on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities across Victoria to look out for one another’s health and wellbeing following a highly divisive leadup that has been rife with the spread mis and disinformation and vile racism.  

Whilst this is a sad day for this country, this outcome will only further strengthen VACCHO’s resolve to be a staunch advocate and leading voice for change that supports thriving, healthy Aboriginal Communities. 

VACCHO CEO Jill Gallagher is disappointed by the outcome of the referendum, but says Aboriginal Communities have the resilience, determination, and fearlessness to continue to push forward.  

“I’m mindful of the potential impacts this referendum result will have on the health and wellbeing of Communities across the state. We need to wrap our arms around one another and support each other during these challenging and complex times.” 

“I encourage people to talk to their families, talk to their friends, and know that there are staunch Aboriginal organisations, leaders, and Elders, who are there for you.” 

“Australia has failed to seize a golden opportunity to elevate the status and visibility of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. However, I am heartened by the support the “Yes” vote received in Victoria.” 

“I’d like to pay tribute to the Aboriginal leaders who showed fearless leadership throughout a gruelling campaign.” 

“We are a strong, resilient Community and we will not falter. VACCHO will continue to fight tooth and nail for recognition and to rectify the appalling failures in the justice, health, and government systems that contribute to a horrific life expectancy and health gap for our people.” 

NOTE: Your social and emotional safety is important. If this has brought up any concerns or issues for you, please have a yarn with Yarnin Safe’n’Strong (1800 959 563) or 13YARN (13 32 16). 

Media enquiries

For further media enquiries please email communications@vaccho.org.au or contact our media unit on (03) 9411 9411.


VACCHO is the peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing in Victoria – the only one of its kind – with 33 Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations as Members. VACCHO Members support over 65,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria, and combined are the largest employers of Aboriginal people in the state.