Indigenous leader Warren Mundine has accused the ABC of bias during a fiery TV interview on the Voice to Parliament.
Mr Mundine, a leading advocate for a ‘no’ vote, berated the ABC when he appeared on the national broadcaster’s News Breakfast program on Monday.
Debate over the proposal heats up as Prime Minister Anthony Albanese prepares to make a pitch later tonight on why Australians should vote yes in the referendum.
Mr Mundine launched into a heated tirade to support Opposition Leader Peter Dutton’s criticism of The Voice and call for NSW High Court Judge Ian Harrison to step down over his comments about ‘No’ campaigner Pat Conaghan.
Warren Mundine admonished the ABC for not announcing the attacks of Yes supporters of the Voice campaign
Last week, Dutton warned that The Voice would have “Orwellian” consequences if “all Australians are equal, but some Australians are more equal than others” – a direct reference to George Orwell’s 1945 satirical novella, Animal Farm.
“I think Peter Dutton is on to something, this is turning into a very divisive, very hateful campaign,” Mundine said.
“I know you like to bully Peter Dutton, but he’s right, this is starting to be a disgraceful campaign and the campaign hasn’t even started yet.”
“This referendum divides Australia and you see it in the polls, and you see it in the community.”
Mr Mundine called for Judge Harrison to resign after sending an email from his work account to National MP Conaghan, labeling him ‘disgusting’ and ‘racist’ for opposing The Voice.
He then denounced the ABC for not calling out the attacks of “yes” supporters who had attacked their opponents with hurtful remarks.
“I just find it bizarre that these people who are supposed to be Yes supporters and Yes campaigners watching us were the people who divided this country,” he said.
ABC presenter Madeleine Morris clarified that Mr Mundine’s comments on the judge’s comments were his own opinion which was not supported by the ABC.
The disclaimer provoked a fiery response from Mr Mundine.
“Of course you don’t support it. It’s my opinion,” he said.
“I just think it’s funny, if that person came out and did it, and he wasn’t a person, I know where the ABC would be on this whole thing.
“It’s time you took a balanced view and actually called out these, these people who are perpetrating these racist attacks.”
Morris tried to change the subject as tensions flared on screen.
“I’ll leave it at that because we invited you and you’re a very prominent member of the No campaign,” she said.
“So I’ll just say, you know, we’re definitely going to be platforms for the No campaign and the Yes campaign and as ABC, we’re going to continue to do that.”
Morris added at the end of the segment, “Just to be clear, those are Warren Mundine’s opinions on that exchange that happened with a NSW judge.”
Morris tried to change the subject as tensions flared on screen
Mr Mundine later pleaded for both Mr Albanese and Mr Dutton.
“What I’m calling on is the Prime Minister in his speech tonight, I’d like to see him stand next to the Leader of the Opposition and say, ‘Look, all this rhetoric, all this language is out of the question, and is not the way we want to go,” he said.
“We want to have a mature, sensible conversation where people can pursue their cases.”
“I’m going to watch a lot of people in the way they behave and carry on because this divides our country. It really divides our country very much.
“And I think it’s time for both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition to stand there together and say, ‘This must not happen.'”
Monday evening Mr. Albanese will deliver the annual Lowitja O’Donoghue Oration in Adelaide.
Anthony Albanese will pitch to Australians on Monday evening why they should vote yes in the referendum
Mr. Albanese will strike down opponents of the Voice, dismiss criticism that it will divide the nation, and express confidence that the referendum will succeed.
‘Yes, there are scare campaigns. What those campaigns have in common is that they so radically underestimate Australians,” he will say.
“It’s only a matter of time before they tell us that the Voice will draw the curtains… there have been claims that the Voice… can even have an effect on parking fines.”
Mr Albanese will say Australians will not fall for calls for fear and the ‘No’ campaign’s increasingly ludicrous invitations to jump on our own shadows.
“That’s because Australians have a healthy skepticism of doomsayers, a skepticism that’s kept sane by memories of all the Chicken Littles predictions of the past.”