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Warren Mundine, a prominent figure in the "No" campaign, asserts that the chances of a successful treaty process increase with a "No" vote victory.

 


Warren Mundine, a prominent figure in the campaign against constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians, has voiced support for a treaty process. He believes that the chances of a successful treaty are higher if the "No" vote prevails. Mundine, who identifies as a Bundjalung man, has also called for a change in the date of Australia Day.

During an appearance on the ABC's Insiders program, Mundine advocated for the establishment of multiple, separate treaties that acknowledge the various Aboriginal nations. He stressed the importance of respecting Aboriginal culture and the concept that one nation should not speak for another's land. Mundine argued that a state or national treaty doesn't align with Indigenous cultural values.

Mundine's stance sets him apart from many conservative campaigners who oppose the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, fearing it might lead to a treaty. However, across Australia, there are ongoing processes aiming to negotiate state-based and clan-based treaties, particularly in Victoria, where Aboriginal leaders hope to commence treaty negotiations by 2024.

Mundine emphasized that treaties are necessary to address issues related to sovereignty and provide protections for Aboriginal culture and heritage. He pointed to the progress made through land rights and native title acts, noting that approximately 55% of Australia's landmass is now under Aboriginal recognition, although not ownership. He predicted that this percentage might increase to 70% or 80% in the next two decades.

Greens Leader Adam Bandt, while acknowledging that the referendum is primarily about constitutional recognition for First Nations people, argued that achieving this recognition makes the establishment of a treaty more likely. He warned that an unsuccessful referendum outcome could hinder progress toward justice for Indigenous Australians.

Mundine also discussed the issue of racism within the "No" campaign, expressing surprise at the intensity of attacks during the referendum debate. He confirmed that former Labor minister Gary Johns had been removed from the campaign due to controversial remarks regarding the need for Aboriginal people to undergo blood tests before receiving welfare payments.

Regarding suggestions that he might enter parliament and replace retiring Liberal senator Marise Payne, Mundine stated that he had not discussed the Senate position with Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, as his current focus is on opposing the Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

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