The no case, however, has two separate positions.
One no case does not want Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have a say in matters that particularly affect them. Proponents of this position make a lot of specific arguments that they say support their case. These arguments suggest that there is no question of justice to be answered. But whatever the arguments, the answer to the threshold question for this group is that they simply do not want to see change.
The other no case is that the proposed amendments do not go far enough to achieve justice. Supporters of this argument seek far greater change than would be delivered by the referendum. They see the constitutional change as limiting the full expression of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ rights. And so they prefer to reject the change.
But the mechanism for change is set by the referendum. This is the process and the proposal that is on the table now. There is no other choice at this point. So for this group, no has the same effect as for all no arguments. There will be no change at all.
Importantly also, because to pass requires a majority of yes votes overall and a majority of yes states, failing to vote or failing to vote correctly will act as a no vote. It is incumbent on each voter to be informed, and to decide on the threshold question.
The yes case sits between the two no positions: one rejecting First Nations people having a say on matters particularly affecting them, and the other advocating for far greater change.