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"No" campaign defends incorrectly identifying man as grandson of Vincent Lingiari in anti-Voice material

Callan Morse -

Leading anti-Voice campaigner Nyunggai Warren Mundine AO and Northern Territory Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price have both incorrectly identified a Millwarparra man as the grandson of legendary land rights activist Vincent Lingiari through their recently-merged Indigenous Voice 'No' campaign.

Mr Mundine and Senator Price used the image and name of Millwarparra man Stewart Lingiari in material on social media promoting their anti-Voice stance, incorrectly claiming he is the grandson of Vincent Lingiari and that he opposes the Voice to Parliament referendum.

It comes after Mr Mundine's Recognise a Better Way campaign merged with the Fair Australia campaign, a movement which has the backing of Price, with the joint campaign to be called Australians for Unity.

Mr Lingiari told RMIT's FactLab he is a Millwarparra man from the remote Northern Territory town of Ngukurr and although shares the same surname as Vincent Lingiari, he is of no relation.

"I'm nowhere near Vincent Lingiari, I'm not his grandson," Mr Lingiari said.

The post, which features a photo of Stewart Lingiari includes the caption "I don't want you to look at me differently. That's why I'm voting no."

Mr Mundine's post has since been identified as false information on Facebook. (Image: Nyunggai Warren Mundine AO Facebook)

Mr Lingiari said the quote attributed to him in the post was provided to him during a recent visit to Canberra, a trip he made to discuss issues relating to his hometown of Ngukurr with federal politicians including Senator Price and Opposition Leader Peter Dutton.

"I was told to say that word there: 'I don't want you to look at me differently. That's why I am voting no'," he said

Mr Lingiari, who was unaware of the Voice to Parliament referendum previous to his Canberra trip in March, said he was asked to recite the sentences whilst being photographed and videoed whilst remaining unsure about the Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum.

He said if he had been more informed about details of the Voice he would not have agreed to recite the sentences provided to him.

"If I would have (known) what this Voice was, I wouldn't have said this. This is what the cameraman told me to say," Mr Lingiari said.

In response, Mr Mundine rubbished RMIT's claims, suggesting their FactLab is backed by pro-Yes legal experts.

Despite his objections, Stewart Lingiari's name, image and attributed quote remains on the Fair Australia website. (Image: Fair Australia)

"This is typical of RMIT. They did an attack on us (Fair Australia), on our advertisement," Mr Mundine told National Indigenous Times.

"They went through a bunch of lawyers … the lawyers were all lawyers working for the yes campaign."

Mr Mundine said Mr Lingiari was introduced at the two-day conference multiple times as Vincent Lingiari's grandson's, a title he did not dispute.

"We had 20 to 30 media people at that conference for two days," Mr Mundine said.

"And every meeting we had he was introduced as Vincent Lingiari's grandson.

"He did not say he wasn't, he said he was. And so we're very happy with what we (Fair Australia) did."

Mr Lingiari visited Canberra in March as part of a nine-member group representing the Northern Territory's Millwarparra Aboriginal Corporation.

Stewart Lingiari (third right) with Millwarparra Aboriginal Corporation representatives, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton, Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price and Nyunggai Warren Mundine (Image: Jacinta Nampijinpa Price Facebook)

Another member of the group, Sammy Ponto said he was surprised that the Voice to Parliament was discussed at the Canberra meeting.

"They sort of snookered us," Mr Ponto said.

"They sort of, like, wrote that down and told us to sort of like read it and speak it."

Unlike Mr Lingiari, Mr Ponto said he was aware of the Voice to Parliament referendum preceding his visit to Canberra, saying he was already in support of the no campaign.

"They (No-campaigners) want to make one voice in Australia," he said.

"We did have something to say. We're Aboriginal, but we're also Australian citizens.

"Anyone living in Australia, they (are) all Australian citizens, we should respect them and help them (with) what they're doing."

Senator Price's response to a tweet from Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs Linda Burney referenced Stewart Lingiari as Vincent Lingiari's grandson. (Image: Jacinta Nampijinpa Twitter)

Federal Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney said the misrepresentation of Mr Lingiari's identity brought the integrity of 'no' campaign into question.

"This raises real questions about the credibility of the No campaign," Ms Burney said.

"It appears that some people have been misled into saying things on camera about constitutional recognition by the No campaign.

"How long can the No campaign go?

"The No campaign have serious questions to answer."

The National Indigenous Times also contacted Senator Price for comment.

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