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Abuse over Voice debate drove Nyunggai Warren Mundine "to the brink"

Dechlan Brennan -

Leading anti-Voice campaigner Nyunggai Warren Mundine AO has revealed his personal battles which led to thoughts of suicide as a result of the abuse he has received for his stance on the Voice referendum.

Speaking on Sky News on Sunday, Mr Mundine said the abuse had pushed him "to the brink" and he feared it was only going to "get worse."

Revealing he had twice considered committing suicide, Mr Mundine said that his thoughts were a "constant thing for about three months."

"I planned it, I planned it twice to do it and in the end I remember once … where I went out the backyard because I've got a twenty metre drop at the back of my house and so I went out and I was going to throw myself over," he said.

"And I just laid in the rain thinking about it and I thought about my family, and thought this would really affect my family if I did this. So, I laid there for a few hours before I calmed down again. But it's a constant, it's a constant thing that I have."

Mr Mundine claimed the abuse that concerned him most was from leading Yes campaigners and prominent Indigenous Australians.

"You looked at Noel Pearson's comments and he made a dreadful racist comment against me in The Australian," he said.

"And then you've got him you've got Marcia Langton who I've known for thirty years, you've got a whole wide range of people like that. So, these people are essential to this election, it's not like they're the fringe and so that really hurt me."

In May, prominent Yes campaign advocate Noel Pearson described Mr Mundine and fellow no campaigner, Northern Territory senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, as "just a front for the Centre for Independent Studies and the IPA think tanks" in an op ed for The Australian.

"They are just glove puppets. The voice is Indigenous but the words are scripted by the clever children of the IPA. The fists inside the puppets punching down on Indigenous people are white," Mr Pearson wrote at the time.

Responding to Mr Mundine's comments about his struggles with racist comments on social media, Noel Pearson said they had no place in the debate.

"It's terrible, heartbreaking. Warren's a brother of mine, he and I have been roughly on the same page for 20 years on Aboriginal policy," Mr Pearson said on Sunday to Sky News.

"It's got to be love and friendship. That's how we are going to win it, we are not going to win it with trolling."

Mr Mundine was a former Labor national president before resigning and joining the Liberal Party. He unsuccessfully ran for the seat of Gilmore at the 2019 federal election.



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