Singer Kamahl has revealed how he was lured to the ‘no’ vote by a series of text messages from an anti-Voice campaigner.
The 88-year-old had initially planned to vote no, but made national headlines when he announced he was going to vote “yes” after a filmed discussion with Indigenous comedian Dane Simpson and constitutional lawyer Eddie Synot.
The filming session in “a very beautiful house” in Sydney convinced him to vote yes, prompting Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to announce there was a “Kamahl-mentum” for the vote and to welcome his support as a “very big deal”.
But on Monday, at his home on Sydney’s northern beaches, Kamahl said he was not properly informed on all issues – and confirmed he would now vote no.
A series of text messages obtained by Daily Mail Australia and sent by a No supporter appear to be the driving force behind his spectacular backflip announced on Channel tenthis is the project Sunday night.
Singer Kamahl (above, Monday), with a Yes campaign button jokingly thrown on the ground, explained that a series of text messages and phone calls on Saturday and Sunday convinced him to return to the No vote .
An avalanche of texts and verbal exchanges led Kamahl to back out of the Yes vote, ultimately convincing him to revert to the No vote.
Kamahl shared texts that showed the roller coaster he experienced between turning to Yes and then back to No.
At 9:38 a.m. last Friday, he texted: “I’m voting yes, PERIOD!!”
He then received an avalanche of text messages and tweets trying to convince him otherwise.
Among the things he read and conversations he had over the weekend that brought him back to the no vote included exchanges with former Willoughby Shire councilor John Hooper and prominent campaigner no, Warren Mundine.
Kamahl, at his home next to a display of awards from his singing and performing career, said he would not return to Yes, although the campaign plans to contact him for “a discussion.”
Kamahl supported yes (left), but then received text messages (right) and phone calls that convinced him to switch back to no, which he did in a surprising TV flashback.
“I’ve spent a lot of time in remote regional areas and I know Voice won’t work, it will be a disaster…” Mr Hooper began in a series of text messages after Kamahl called him last Saturday .
In texts and conversations, Mr. Hooper gave Kamahl a long history of indigenous affairs dating back to the First Fleet and information on deprivation and health care.
In one exchange, Mr. Hooper made extraordinary and unverifiable claims to Kamahl about cases of cannibalism in indigenous communities in the 1920s.
Mr Hooper agreed that he and Daily Mail Australia discussed the cannibalism allegations among many other topics.
Mr Hooper then referred Kamahl to Mr Mundine, a leading No campaigner.
The singer told Daily Mail Australia that on Monday night he had an enhanced history lesson.
He said he now believed “voting Yes means dividing the nation by making Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people a special race”.
Kamahl backtracked on the yes vote on Sunday evening, just a day after the prime minister predicted a “Kamahl-mentum” in the campaign, but also after the singer received an avalanche of texts encouraging him to vote no.
Kamahl spoke with several people, including former Willoughby adviser John Hooper (left), and exchanged texts and had conversations before returning to the no vote, which he says he is sticking to now.
“I know what it’s like to feel inferior because I’m black, I hate to say that even today I feel inferior because I’m black,” he said.
“I played an Aboriginal man on a film set and I know what it’s like when the white guys go back into the air conditioning between takes, and the girl and I get a sandwich and are told to stay outside.
“I had never heard of The Voice until 10 days ago and I didn’t realize the seriousness of the campaign when (the Yes camp) took me to this very beautiful house.
When I was with Eddy and (comedian) Dan (Ilic), I was happy to change my vote to Yes.
“They wanted to inform me and give me a better understanding and I believed what they said, but I now think the yes vote is divisive.”
An enthusiastic user of ‘No’ because I had enough information and facts’.
Kamahl now admits the atmosphere turned frosty when he announced he was changing his vote during the pre-recorded interview with Ten, sparking a verbal confrontation with host Hamish McDonald.
Kamahl said of his voting setback on Channel Ten’s The Project that he knew the temperature had dropped in the studio with Hamish McDonald (above) and “I was now an enemy in enemy territory” .
The mood in the room suddenly dropped. I know I was going against the grain,” he said.
“I was now an enemy in enemy territory and (Hamish McDonald) did not agree with that number,” Kamahl said, referring to the amount he cited on the show, saying $40 billion was spent each year on Indigenous programs.
This figure is unsubstantiated and was immediately questioned by McDonald, who said it was $4 billion.
The Yes campaign, however, did not give up.
He was told his lawyer Eddie Synot would contact him again to discuss the Yes campaign.
However, he indicated that he would not say much about the Yes campaign, because “you don’t want to kick a dog when it’s down.”
He said he would vote no “because I love Australia”.