Warren Mundine’s daughter backs Yes campaign for Indigenous Voice to Parliament

The daughter of leading No campaigner Warren Mundine has come out strongly in favour of the Voice as she accused of her father of not doing what is ‘morally right’.

Garigarra Riley-Mundine, 31, is one of seven children Mundine had with former wife and Indigenous educator Dr Lynette Riley during a 26-year marriage that ended in a 2008 divorce. 

Ms Riley-Mundine said her father’s opposition to the Voice ‘goes against what I feel is morally right and how I’ve been raised and the family that I come from’.

She said the family values imparted by her ‘staunch union man’ grandfather were  ‘to do everything we could to make sure that future generations had it better than what we’ve got now’.

Garigarra Riley-Mundine, the daughter of Warren Mundine, has strongly rejected her father’s views on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament

At a National Press Club speech on Tuesday Mr Mundine called the Uluru Statement from the Heart, the document that calls for the Voice, a ‘symbolic declaration of war’.

Ms Riley-Mundine, who told The Guardian she does not have ‘a strong relationship with her father’, strongly rejected this.

‘It hurt because I feel that the Uluru Statement came from a place of unity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,’ she says.

‘We’re not trying to take over anything; we are literally just asking for a voice. 

‘And we just want to unite this country, because when we are empowered and our communities are strengthened, then all of Australia is empowered and strengthened.’

Ms Riley-Mundine accused her father and other No advocates of waging a two-pronged fear campaign.

She said they told non-Indigenous Australians the Voice would have negative ramifications for the wider community but also told Indigenous Australians that it would allow the government to control them and strip their sovereignty. 

However, she insisted the proposal was entirely positive.

‘I see the Voice to Parliament and the Uluru Statement from the Heart as an outstretched hand to say, “Help us help ourselves. We want to have a voice in our future and in the policies and programs that affect us”, Ms Riley-Mundine said. 

Ms Riley-Mundine also expressed disappointment over her father failing to denounce a comedy act at the right-wing CPAC event in August who ‘acknowledged’ the traditional owners of ‘violent black men’. 

‘Corporate comedian’ Rodney Marks also went on to describe famed First Fleet contact Bennelong as a ‘woman-basher’ during the ‘comedy skit’.

Mr Mundine (pictured right with fellow No advocate Jacinta Price) has led the fight against the Voice

Mr Mundine (pictured right with fellow No advocate Jacinta Price) has led the fight against the Voice

Karen Mundine, who is Mr Mundine's niece, has come out strongly in favour of a Yes vote

Karen Mundine, who is Mr Mundine’s niece, has come out strongly in favour of a Yes vote

‘(Warren Mundine) surely must have been hurt by those words. I can’t imagine any black man that wouldn’t have been hurt by those words,’ Ms Mundine said.

‘I found it really hard to hear. As a black woman, obviously I feel strongly about these things no matter who my connections are, but being surrounded by strong black men who I love, my heart hurt hearing those words.’

During a National Press Club speech on Tuesday Mr Mundine said comedians ‘have freedom to have comedy and make jokes’ and that the Voice referendum, to be held on October 14, had already bitterly divided the community.

Ms Riley-Mundine, who lives in Canberra with her husband and 10-week-old son, also thought the referendum debate had been divisive and she said her ‘heart went out’ to any struggling with mental health issues because of it.  

‘There have been a lot of divisive voices that have been lifted up in this referendum and I feel that as a nation, we have to go through a healing process after this,’ she said. 

‘In having a yes vote, we can show people that this is something from love and this is something from hope and that it’s nothing to be scared of.’

The Mundine family has publicly split on the Voice with Warren Mundine’s niece Karen Mundine strongly backing the Yes campaign and claiming her late mother Kaye, who is Mr Mundine’s sister, would also.

Karen, who is Reconciliation of Australia CEO, suggested the family could drift apart over their political views.

‘Will people be as close? I don’t know right now. It’s hard to say,’ she said. 

The highest profile Mundine family member, former champion boxer and NRL superstar Anthony, who is Warren’s second cousin, also plans to vote No.

He described the Voice as ‘straight up trickery’.

Former boxer and NRL star Anthony Mundine supports his uncle in opposing the Voice to Parliament

Former boxer and NRL star Anthony Mundine supports his uncle in opposing the Voice to Parliament

Karen also claimed her mother Kaye, a champion for Indigenous rights who died in 2016 aged 69, would disagree with her brother, with whom she used to ‘lock horns … a lot’.

‘She would be hating this whole debate,’ she said. 

Karen said her uncle had a direct impact on her childhood and ‘helped raise’ her and that she loved and respected him. 

‘He has a point of view and he stands for that, but I very much disagree with that point of view,’ she said.

The increasing divisiveness of the campaign has led to abuse directed at Reconciliation Australia, the organisation she has led since 2017. 

They have been bombarded with abusive calls and social media messages and even received ‘an unsigned threat’.

One of her female colleagues, door knocking for the Yes campaign also had a hot cup of coffee thrown over her. 

Mr Mundine, 67, previously told Daily Mail Australia the Voice hasn’t impacted the relationships in the family.

‘In our family there is a wide range of opinions, just like any other family,’ he told Daily Mail Australia. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk