'Few things worth doing are easy.' Anthony Albanese's speech to Australia following The Voice's defeat.

Last night, Australians had their say, the majority choosing to vote no to the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. 

All states and territories voted majority no, other than the Australian Capital Territory. Thirty-eight electorates out of 151 nationwide supported the Indigenous voice.

READ MORE: Australia voted No for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament. So what happens now?

Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney said it is a result that is disappointing but one to be respected. 

"For many, today is a day of sadness. This result is not what we hoped for," she said.

"I know this outcome will be hard for some, but achieving progress is never easy, and progress doesn't always move in a straight line. There are breakthroughs and heartbreaks, but I am confident that because of this campaign and the millions of conversations it has sparked, the renewed generation of Indigenous leaders will emerge."

Watch: Tony Armstrong on racism in Australia. Post continues below.

Video via The Project.

Announcing the No verdict, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese noted the Yes campaign had given it their all.


He also acknowledged that while the nation must respect the outcome and majority decision, it was a bitter pill to swallow for many Indigenous Australians.

Here is his speech in full below. 

Anthony Albanese's message to all Australians.

"At the outset, I want to say that while tonight's result is not one that I hoped for, I absolutely respect the decision of the Australian people and the democratic process that has delivered it.

"When we reflect on everything happening in the world today, we can all give thanks that here in Australia, we make the big decisions peacefully and as equals with one vote, one value. 

"And I say to the millions of Australians all over our great country who voted yes with hope and goodwill, the people who volunteered with such energy and enthusiasm, many of whom were taking part in their first ever campaign that just as the Uluru statement from the heart was an invitation extended with humility, grace and optimism for the future - tonight, we must meet this result with the same grace and humility. And tomorrow we must seek a new way forward with the same optimism.

"My fellow Australians, the first time I spoke to you as Prime Minister of this nation, I repeated a commitment I had given many times before as Labor leader, I promised that our government would seek to implement the Uluru Statement from the Heart.


"I gave my word to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and Elders who had poured their hopes and aspirations into that extraordinary statement. I spoke to the people from all walks of life and all sides of politics, the people of every faith and background and tradition who had embraced this cause.

"I promised our government would seek to answer the generous and gracious call of those 440 powerful words through a Voice recognition enshrined in the constitution, I never imagined or indeed said that it would be easy.

"Few things worth doing in public life are easy, nor could I guarantee the referendum would succeed.

"History told us that only eight out of 44 had done so. What I could promise was that we would go all in and that we would try. And we have, we have given Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people the fulfillment of their request that we take forward an idea that had been decades in the making and we would give the Australian people the opportunity to decide for themselves.

"We have kept that promise.

"We have given our all.

"We argued for this change not out of convenience but from conviction because that's what people deserve from their government. And of course, when you do the hard things, when you aim high, sometimes you fall short.

"And tonight, we acknowledge, understand and respect that. As Prime Minister, I will always accept responsibility for the decisions I have taken.


"And I do so tonight, but I do want Australians to know that I will always be ambitious for our country, ambitious for us to be the very best version of ourselves. I will always be optimistic for what we can achieve together in that spirit, just as I offered many times to co-operate with people from across the political spectrum.

"On the next steps in the event of a Yes victory, I renew that offer of co-operation tonight because this moment of disagreement does not define us and it will not divide us.

"We are not Yes voters or No voters, we are all Australians and it is as Australians together that we must take our country beyond this debate without forgetting why we had it in the first place. Because too often in the life of our nation and in the political conversation, the disadvantaged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been relegated to the margins.

"This referendum and my government has put it right at the centre.

"All of us have been asked to imagine what it would be like to walk in someone else's shoes. And we've been challenged to examine decades of value from both sides of politics despite all of the good intentions in the world.

"Indeed, those arguing against the change to the constitution were not arguing for the status quo because no one could say that more of the same is good enough for Australia.

"Let us hold on to that truth.


"Because a great nation like ours can and must do better for the first Australians.

"And while there has been talk in recent times about division, let us now co-operate to address the real division. The real division is one of disadvantage. The division is the gap between Indigenous and non Indigenous Australians in life expectancy, in educational opportunity, in rates of suicide and disease. The gap which separates Indigenous Australians from the right to make a good life for themselves.

"I supported recognition through a Voice because this was the vehicle that Indigenous Australians believed could change this. This was the change they asked for at the First Nations Constitutional Convention at Uluru in 2017 after a process that involved hundreds of meetings and thousands of people.

"And I want to make it clear, I believed it was the right thing to do and I will always stand up for my beliefs.

"It's now up to all of us to come together and find a different way to the same reconciled destination.

"I'm optimistic that we can and indeed that we must, there is a new national awareness of these questions. Let us channel that into a new sense of national purpose to find the answers. The proposition we advanced at this referendum was about listening to people in order to get better outcomes.

"And these principles are what will continue to guide me as Australia's 31st Prime Minister, our government will continue to listen to people and to communities.


"Our government will continue to seek better outcomes for Indigenous Australians and their children and the generations to come. This is not only in the interests of Indigenous Australians, it is in the interests of all Australians to build a better future for our nation.

"Tonight, I want to recognise that for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, this campaign has been a heavy weight to carry and this result will be very hard to bear. So many remarkable Indigenous Australians and put their heart and soul into this cause, not just over the past few weeks and months, but for about three decades. Indeed, lifetimes of advocacy.

"I have been honoured and humbled to stand by you and witness your extraordinary courage and grace, your great love for our country and your deep faith in our people. That includes my friend standing with me here tonight [Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney].

"You continue to inspire me and make me prouder than ever to be Australian. I have never been as proud to be Australian as when I sat in the red dirt at the room with those wonderful women, but that's wonderful. I have made lifetime friends and for that; I am grateful.

"Constitutional change may not have happened tonight, but change has happened in our great nation.

"Respect and recognition is given at events, the fullness of our history has begun to be told, maintain your hope and know that you are loved, my fellow Australians, our nation's road to reconciliation has often been hard going.


"But through the decades, there have been hard moments of moments of hard-won progress as well.

"That's why I say tonight is not the end of the road and it is certainly not the end of our efforts to bring people together. The issues we sought to address have not gone away and neither have the people of goodwill and good heart who want to address them and address them. 

"We will with hope in our heart, with faith in each other, with kindness towards each other, walking together in a spirit of unity and healing, walking together for a better future.

"For the First Australians, whose generosity of spirit and resilience intensifies the privilege that all Australians have of sharing this continent with the oldest continuous culture on it. The historic fact that Australia's story is 65,000 years old remains a source of national pride and remains a fact from tomorrow.

"We will continue to write the next chapter in that great Australian story and we will ride it together and reconciliation must be a part of that chapter.

"Thank you."

The Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander crisis support line is 13YARN on 13 92 76.

Featured Image: AAP.