'Unleashed a tsunami of racism.' Indigenous leaders' open letter to Australians.

Indigenous 'yes' campaign leaders have broken their silence over the October 14 referendum, describing the result as "shameful".

An unsigned, open letter released on Sunday said that after a week of silence, they were speaking out to respond to the majority of Australians who voted against the proposal to enshrine an Indigenous voice in the constitution.

"In refusing our peoples' right to be heard on matters that affect us, Australia chose to make itself less liberal and less democratic," the statement read. "It is clear no reform of the constitution that includes our peoples will ever succeed. This is the bitter lesson from 14 October."

Watch: Indigenous Australians minister Linda Burney held back tears as she stood and conceded recent months had been 'tough' on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Post continues after video.

Video via YouTube/The Guardian.

The latest count from the October 14 referendum shows the national 'no' vote at 60.69 per cent and 'yes' at 39.31 per cent. Every state turned down the proposal, with the ACT the only jurisdiction to back the 'yes' case. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has acknowledged the disappointment of 'yes' campaigners but said Australia's choice must be respected. "We respect the outcomes in our democracy and I have done that," he told reporters in Perth on Friday.

Sunday's statement, which did not name its specific authors, said there was nothing positive to be taken from the referendum result. Post-referendum commentary absolving 'no' voters was expected, it said, in the usual kind of post-election approval or praise of the electorate. "The truth is that the majority of Australians have committed a shameful act whether knowingly or not, and there is nothing positive to be interpreted from it," it said. There was little that could be done after the federal opposition announced it was opposing the voice, the letter stated. "The support for the referendum collapsed from the moment Liberal and National Party leaders, Mr Dutton and Mr Littleproud, chose to oppose the Voice to Parliament proposal after more than a decade of bipartisan support."


The statement described the level of misinformation surrounding the campaign and lead-up to the vote as "unprecedented", saying it had "unleashed a tsunami of racism".

"We know that the mainstream media failed our people, favouring 'a false sense of balance' over facts," said the letter, which also criticised organisations for "lies in political advertising and communication".

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On Saturday, three Northern Territory land councils said the result of the referendum could not be separated from a "deep-seated racism". "It is fair to say that not everyone who voted 'no' is racist but also fair to say that all racists voted 'no'," said the Northern Land Council, Tiwi Land Council and Anindilyakwa Land Council. "The vitriol and hatred that were part of the campaign existed prior to, but were given licence through the process."

Feature Image: Getty.