VOTING patterns in the Voice to Parliament referendum on the Mornington Peninsula were close to those recorded across Australia, resulting in a clear No.
The latest counting on Monday morning showed 57.89 per cent of No votes on the peninsula (60.59 nationally) and 42.11 per cent Yes (39.41 nationally).
Neighbouring Dunkley, which includes Mount Eliza, recorded 50.07 per cent No and 43.61 per cent Yes.
There were some pockets on the peninsula where Yes votes triumphed – Mount Martha and around the Red Hill area – but No votes dominated elsewhere, from Portsea and Sorrento to Dromana and across to Baxter, Somerville and through Hastings on the Western Port side of the peninsula.
Flinders Liberal MP and a supporter of the No campaign waged by the federal opposition, Zoe McKenzie, used a German word when using Facebook to urge people to vote in the referendum: “Turns out Flinders are weltmeister [world champions] when it comes to early voting, with 54% of us having voted by close of business on Thursday.”
Dunkley MP Labor’s Peta Murphy, on voting day on Facebook, said voting Yes was “our chance to close the gap on health, education and housing. Let’s take it”. There was no mention of the No victory on her Facebook page on Sunday.
Labor MP for Hastings, Paul Mercurio, uploaded a video of himself and Labor colleague Eastern Victoria MP Tom McIntosh “turning some democracy sausages … I voted Yes – not because I’m Labor but because it is the absolute right thing to do,” On Sunday, after the referendum was lost, Mercurio’s Facebook showed pictures of a microwave meal he’d cooked but made no reference to the result.
On voting day, the latest post on Nepean MP Sam Groth’s Facebook page congratulated Dromana Tigers on their Mornington Peninsula Football Netball League division one premiership. Fellow Liberal and MP for Mornington Chris Crewther told how “exciting” it had been at the official opening of the new Jubilee Park stadium in Frankston.
McKenzie had made no secret of her advocacy for a No vote, saying five months ago that although being “firmly committed to the recognition of Australia’s First Nations peoples in the Constitution … I cannot recommend a Yes vote due to the unacceptable constitutional and legal risk it contains”.
“While lawyers disagree about what the worst-case scenario might be, former High Court justices have warned that if a court were to find a duty to consult the Voice before the execution of any executive power, then it could ‘bring the government to a halt’ or ‘make government unworkable’ (“A risk to executive government” The News 30/5/23).
The three polling places in Hastings recorded the largest margin between voting preferences on the peninsula, with No receiving 10,170 votes and Yes 5731.
The 187 comments on the Hastings-based Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association Facebook made after the referendum result was known ranged from being sympathetic (“devastating outcome”) to derisive (“what a waste of money”).
On the other side of the peninsula, Rosebud’s six polling places added 14,087 No votes and 9555 Yes votes to the tally. Mornington’s six polling places recorded 12,603 No votes to 9718 Yes.