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Mundine still wants second referendum after Voice defeat

Prominent No activist and businessman Warren Mundine concedes the Indigenous Voice to parliament campaign has left Australians bruised, declaring he favours another referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the Constitution.

Chairman of initial public offer candidate and regional copper explorer Fuse Minerals, Mr Mundine said Opposition Leader Peter Dutton’s apparent move to ditch plans for another national vote was right, saying voters need a “couple of years” for a process of reconciliation.

Leading No campaigner Warren Mundine says voters need a break after the bruising referendum. Dan Peled

As the Coalition pursues Labor over its plans for a treaty and truth-telling process in parliament, Mr Mundine said he was against a formal agreement with Indigenous communities.

“Look, I don’t have a timeframe [for a second referendum], but I hope it’s earlier than later, I think the leader of the opposition has made the right decision because people in Australia now are burned out,” he said.

“I thought it was important he made it clear before the referendum that the vast majority of Australians, about 90 per cent, want Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders recognised in the Constitution.


“But this was such a bruising campaign for all Australians. We need a rest, to rejuvenate, and get ourselves together and this is so important for the prime minister he needs to bring us all together now.”

The Opposition has been unable to explain its policy on a second referendum in Canberra this week, after Mr Dutton first proposed one and then said a review was needed. This week, he said “the public is probably over the referendum process for some time.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has been challenged to say if he still supports treaty and truth-telling. On Wednesday, he quoted respected land rights campaigner and Indigenous leader Yunupingu.

“The task remains to reconcile with the truth, to find the unity and achieve the settlement. The prime minister must lead it and complete it,” Mr Albanese said.

“The leader of the nation should accept his or her commission and simply say what he or she thinks is right and put that forward for the nation to correct or to accept or to reject.”

Mr Mundine had been a favourite to fill the vacant NSW Senate seat for the Liberal Party but ruled himself out of the race last month, after calling for the date of Australia Day to be moved from January 26 and expressing support for treaties with Indigenous communities.


On Wednesday, he rejected calls for a treaty and said a push by controversial independent senator Lidia Thorpe was misguided.

“I wouldn’t support a treaty,” he said. “And I didn’t go along the line of a treaty in the Makarrata commission in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

“We’ve always said that because of our culture and religions spirituality that country is very important to us, it’s part and parcel of our lives, so to being compatible to a modern nation, you can’t have two sets of laws, two sets of sovereignty quite frankly, I don’t know how that can work.”

A former Labor Party president turned Liberal candidate, Mr Mundine said Australians “want practical outcomes and improvements in Aboriginal lives”. “Any politician or media in this country that doesn’t listen to that I’m sure will be punished in future elections,” he added.

Fuse Minerals plans

Fuse Minerals is targeting an ASX listing in early December with other investors including Gina Rinehart’s estranged son, John Hancock.


Brokers aim to raise up to $10 million at the public offer stage next month to fund exploration at the explorer’s copper and gold tenements in Western Australia and Queensland.

“Copper is one mineral that’s important for the advancement of the renewable energy industry,” said Mr Mundine.

“I’m really pleased about the way we’re moving forward, I went out on the drilling sites and sat down with the local Aboriginal people and custodians and talked about their cultural heritage and how we can operate in that space and have a good outcome for everyone involved with the project.”

Tom Richardson writes and comments on markets including equities, debt, crypto, software, banking, payments, and regulation. He worked in asset management at Bank of New York Mellon and is a member of the CFA Society of the UK as a holder of the Investment Management Certificate. Connect with Tom on Twitter. Email Tom at
Tom McIlroy is the Financial Review's political correspondent, reporting from the federal press gallery at Parliament House. Connect with Tom on Twitter. Email Tom at

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