Heartbroken Indigenous communities are questioning if reconciliation is possible in Australia as fallout continues from the failed voice referendum.
The Central Australian Aboriginal Congress released a blistering statement on Monday afternoon, declaring prominent 'no' figures "gave permission for racism to run wild" through the campaign.
They joined a group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in calling out the 'no' campaign's "shameful victory", done so in an unsigned letter released on Sunday.
The "saddened and disappointed" congress said the 'no' campaign had turned "previously good-willed people against us", wondering what further progress could still be made.
"Given the result ... and the conduct of the 'no' campaign, there are now serious questions about whether reconciliation is still a viable strategy in Australia," their statement read.
"Nevertheless, one thing remains certain: sooner or later the nation state must deal with the enduring fact of Aboriginal sovereignty ... in the meantime, our struggle for equality, justice and self-determination will continue."
The latest Australian Electoral Commission figures show 60.64 per cent of voters cast a 'no' ballot.
Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles encouraged the community not to let the referendum result prevent any other progress, particularly as his government seeks to close a gap in figures such as life expectancy and jail rates.
"(It) was not a vote against reconciliation, nor was it a vote against taking action on closing the gap," he told reporters.
"Our focus will be very much on practical measures which result in closing the gap."
The statement on Sunday, which did not name its specific authors, said there was nothing positive to be taken from the nation's refusal to enshrine an Indigenous advisory body into the constitution.
Coalition senators, including Liberal Kerrynne Liddle, used a Senate estimates hearing to quiz the government about who wrote the letter.
Those attempts produced minimal results, considering the letter didn't come from the government.
To move forward in the face of such a devastating result, co-chair of Reconciliation Australia Melinda Cilento said the nation needed to address racism.
"(With) the level of racism experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people that was clearly on display through the campaign in the days after the referendum, we really need to start talking about tackling racism," she told ABC radio.
States are grappling with their next steps on Indigenous reconciliation, the Queensland government admitting its path to treaty hit a major snag when the opposition backflipped on its support last week.
"We went into this with bipartisan support and one party, through lack of leadership ... walks away," Queensland Labor minister Grace Grace told reporters.
"To then see them pack up, walk away and say they are not supporting this anymore ... was truly astounding."
NSW will begin treaty consultations soon, with Premier Chris Minns insisting he will take any major changes to the 2027 election.
Australian Associated Press