Warren Mundine and Tony Abbott

thanks again to gary (foley) for once more getting me over a hurdle, that hurdle being warren and a wish to look at what he has done, what he is doing and what he will do.

like gary i was struggling to put something down that was not absolutely insulting to warren but to write an article that would merely profile him, warts and all.

my leap into the mundine abyss was linked to a news.ltd article that wondered why warren would face abuse from others for voting liberal and how racist that abuse was. there was no mention of copy-cat abuse levelled at nova peris on standing for the senate on behalf of labor. the draft stated,

i really do not know why this is considered news by news ltd. especially news limit. it would come as no great surprise that news ltd has never been friendly to aboriginal people or others they see as being unworthy. but this is not about news ltd.

it is about warren and how he is viewed by others, aboriginal and non-aboriginal, and why he is viewed that way.

and that is as far as i could go, for several reasons. the first is that i have only had discourse twice with him and everything else was based on his political antics from his time as one of three labor presidents during the howard years. whilst i understood some things, the big picture eluded me. but not now.

the first time i met warren was in his role of president of the labor party who were coming to their annual conference and i had been contacted by a good friend of mine to meet with him and warren to allow warren to take a good strong position, and a motion of notice, to that conference. i agreed and we met at a funky tapas restaurant at redfern. to my surprise warren was flanked by two union members who shook hands, warren did not, then proceeded to answer questions put by his minders. warren did not speak, he just puffed himself up to give the appearance of self-importance. after some ten minutes the interview was over and my friend and i were silently dismissed as they rushed to pay the bill.

that warren left me with a strong reaction of disgust at his imperious attitude goes without saying. whether he used the information i gave to his minders i have no idea but it most certainly informed my mind of where he was coming from. it was hard not to follow his public career as his wishes were published in the murdoch press with some regularity. his desire to be given either a safe labor seat in the lower house or a senate seat, undoubtedly for his self-perceived input into the labor party, fell on deaf ears. and there is one good reason why he was overlooked and that was his own attitude and interpretation of his actions. the labor factions have long memories.

when john howard set up the shamefully toothless ‘national indigenous council’ that was to be merely an echo-board of liberal party policies, warren was beside himself and decided to gatecrash the council. whatever the circumstances of his lobbying he joined the nic whilst still president of the labor party. that he did not think through the political consequences of his actions arising from his need for self-aggrandisement, to me, shows his weakness in political thought and understanding. of course, his medal from the bennelong society, the john howard think tank, for ‘services to the aboriginal cause’ or somesuch title put the death knell to his terminated rise in the labor party.

warren, like others of his ilk, looked around and upon his failure to gain the senate seat of his mentor, or one of them, and decided that labor had in fact lost its way and was bloody racist as well, so he let his membership lapse. during this time however he was quite busy eyeing other possibilities of position, power and influence. he and marcia langton were being paid by the minerals industry council to mouth their productivity platitudes back to them. money for jam. he then popped up working with that crook, twiggy forrest, on the generation one work scam. that was the second time i met him at a conference when i asked him at what rates of pay were the gen-one identified employees being paid but the answer was most unclear.

it is of absolutely no surprise that warren is an opportunist in all things that he sees should be his by the right of his birth. he struck up with howard again but especially now-pm abbott to further his so-called career. if tony had had any positive thought about warren would he not have offered him a seat? what he has done is to appoint warren as the leader of the nic-like pack that will follow on mouthing liberal party policies. not even tokens. just paid puppets.

on ya, warren. of course he voted liberal. pipers and tunes and all that.

warren, marcia langton and noel pearson are very strong arguments on why we do not need reserved parliamentary seats for our mobs. better we do it fully on merit and not on who is wearing the breastplates.


ray jackson
indigenous social justice association

(m) 0450 651 063
(p) 02 9318 0947
address 1303/200 pitt street waterloo 2017


we live and work on the stolen lands of the gadigal people.

sovereignty treaty social justice

Warren Mundine: The white sheep of the family?

By Gary Foley, September 9, 2013

It would seem at the present time that the former National President of the ALP, Mr Warren Mundine, has momentarily eclipsed the Cape York Crusader Noel Pearson as the Aboriginal Man of the Moment, writes GARY FOLEY.

Whilst Mr Mundine may lack the intellectual firepower of Noel Pearson, he has nevertheless elbowed his way to the front of the pack with his dazzling late-life conversion to the cause of all things Tony Abbott.

Mundines strategic realignment to become best buddies with Abbott at the beginning of the 2013 federal election campaign may have been a surprise to some, but only those who have not been taking notice of Mundines mundane comments on Aboriginal matters over the past few decades.

It is therefore instructive to recall Warren’s political trajectory over the long term if we are to begin to try and make sense of the political stance he has arrived at today.

We must do this if we are to ascertain when Warren is driven by pure political opportunism alone, or whether there is some internal logic and rationale to his strange political path over the years.

After all, here is a man who emerged from a respected Aboriginal family on the north coast of NSW; a family who collectively over many decades have been honourably involved in the struggle for justice for our people.

At his stage I should declare my interests and advise the reader that Warren is a distant relative of mine, and that this has tempered this article to the extent that I am treading cautiously in an attempt to not offend too many members of my extended family.

At the same time I believe that it is important for Aboriginal people to subject Aboriginal leaders in positions of power and influence to a level of scrutiny that a biased and ignorant mainstream media often fails to, so readers need to be aware of the tightrope I walk as I write this article. Having stated that disclaimer, I would also point out that I have long referred to Warren as the white sheep of our family without seeming to upset too many relatives.

Warren was born to a devout Catholic branch of my family and was the ninth of eleven brothers and sisters.

His parents, Roy and Dolly were a strong and formidable couple who were clearly very influential on the young Warren.

From his father Warren says he acquired a strong belief in the importance of home ownership as well as a commitment to trade unionism.

He has said: That was an important part of the bond between my father and I, that we were both union menIt would never have occurred to me not to join.

From his mother he derived a strong attachment to Catholicism which he has said, very much shapes his political views.

To me its a very important spirituality thing. I dont think its all I’m about, but my faith has had a great influence on my life and got me through a lot of tough times.

In 1963 his family moved from their home in South Grafton to Sydney suburb of Auburn. Later Warren would begin his working life as a factory fitter and machinist, and later working s for the Sydney Water Board. He went to a TAFE college at night and earned the Higher School Certificate, which enabled him to move up to a white-collar job as a clerk in the Taxation Office in Martin Place.

He also briefly studied in Adelaide, where he attended the former South Australian institute of technology and earned a community development diploma, but this limited level of education has not inhibited Warren’s spectacular rise to prominence in Australian politics.

His political career probably began around 1982 when he can be seen waving the Koori flag and making a couple of radical speeches at the major demonstrations against the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane.

In Madeline McGradys film ”We Fight”, on several occasions Warren can be seen lurking behind me as I am making a radical speech condemning to policies of the Bjelke-Peterson government of QLD.

Again during 1987 in the lead-up to the major Aboriginal demonstration against the Australian Bi-Centennial, Warren is to be seen making a radical speech on a national televised forum on ABC-TV. Thus in the beginning Warren appeared to be politically Left of centre, but that superficial impression would not last for long.

In 1995, he began his journey to the Right of politics when he successfully stood as an independent candidate for Dubbo City Council in central-west NSW, later becoming deputy mayor, a position he held until 2004.

But his real rise to prominence came when the ALP decided in to reform its rules and allow the rank and file to choose three national presidents for the next three years.

This led to the election of Carmen Lawrence as a token female President for 2004, to be followed by the grand old man of the ALP, Barry Jones for 2005 and a token Aborigine, Warren Mundine for 2006.

At the time there were not a lot of Aboriginal people who were members of the ALP after the great Land Rights sell-out of the Hawke Government, so Warren had a relatively clear run to be the token Aboriginal President.

It should also be remembered that Warren was sponsored in the push for Party President by members of the NSW Right faction of the ALP, including Mark Arbib, Karl Bitar and the now notorious Eddie Obeid.

But even before he would take up the Presidency, Warren managed to embroil himself in controversy by accepting an offer from the Howard Liberal government to become part of a new appointed Aboriginal advisory body to replace the Hawke governments failed elected body ATSIC.

When Mundine was attacked for hypocrisy by NSW Labor Minister Linda Burney as well as the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council, he was supported by Mark Arbib who asserted the nonsensical proposition that there was no inherent conflict between Mr Mundine’s membership of the NIC and his role as incoming national president of the ALP.

These should have been clear signals to both the ALP and the Aboriginal community that Mundine was on a path to the Right of politics.

Warrens subsequent alignment with Twiggy Forrests dodgy organisation GenerationOne as well as his oft expressed admiration for the right-wing ideas of Noel Pearson and Marcia Langton were also clear indications of his drift to the right.

That drift was no doubt expedited when the ALP showed no inclination to giving him a safe seat and a ticket to parliament that a former Party President might be entitled to expect. Mundine had discovered what a lot of us already knew; that the ALP was such a fundamentally racist organisation that they had never in their 100 year history ever enabled an Aboriginal party member to be pre-selected to a safe seat.

This was probably a major factor, along with a serious heart scare in October 2012, that resulted in his finally allowing his membership of the ALP to lapse last year.

Since then two major events appear to have sealed Warrens arrival as the new Aboriginal darling of Australian Right-wing politics.

The first was his marriage to Elizabeth Henderson, who is the daughter of Gerard Henderson, conservative political commentator and a former chief-of-staff to John Howard, and the second is his new political marriage to Tony Abbotts new Indigenous advisory body.

Warren met Elizabeth three years ago at a function at the right-wing think tank, the Sydney Institute.

At the time both were married to other people.

Of the end of his second marriage, the devout Catholic Warren has said, I never thought of myself as a bloke who was attractive to women but after I became president [of the ALP] it was like I became sexy to some people I dont really get it. But I was getting offers. And the ego got the better of me and I took one of those offers, and I got what I deserved, which was a divorce.

In February this year 450 close personal friends turned up at Luna Park in Sydney (an appropriately Monty Pythonesque venue) for the wedding of Warren and Elizabeth. Sadly I have to report to readers that my invitation appears to have been lost in the mail, but I am told that among those who were in attendance were Tony Abbott, Twiggy Forrest, Jenny Macklin and Marcia Langton along with a large contingent of other right-wing luminaries and their acolytes.

The mere thought of the business and networking opportunities on that day just boggles the mind

However it is Mundines arrival at the political door of Tony Abbott that appears to have surprised many pundits, even though one didnt need to be a clairvoyant to predict that this might happen.

Abbott has declared that he and Warren are Kindred spirits and so we can now expect the bromance between these two staunch Catholic boys to develop and grow.

However, it remains to be seen whether this convenient relationship (or relationship of convenience) will ultimately be to the benefit of many Aboriginal people.

from ray jackson
indigenous social justice association

(m) 0450 651 063
(p) 02 9318 0947
address 1303/200 pitt street waterloo 2017


we live and work on the stolen lands of the gadigal people.

sovereignty treaty social justice

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