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Uluru Statement architects hit back at Warren Mundine's press club comments

Jarred Cross -

Uluru Statement from the Heart architects have hit back at Warren Mundine after the no campaign leader likened the document to a "symbolic declaration of war against modern Australia".

In his National Press Club address three weeks out from the referendum on Tuesday, Mr Mundine outlined his points of opposition to Voice to Parliament.

He labelled the Voice "divisive", presents 'lies' and favoured practical measures, namely education and economic participation, as more direct avenues to Closing the Gap.

Mr Mundine said the Uluru Statement, a founding documents behind the Voice, threatens to group all mob together, and see's all Indigenous Australians "trapped in victimhood and oppression not free are able to make their own decisions".

"The Uluru statement couldn't be further from the idea of reconciliation. The full manifesto is steeped in grievance," he said.

Co-authors Professor Megan Davis and Pat Anderson have campaigned for the Voice with grassroot organisation the Uluru Dialogue.

The group labelled Mr Mundine's comments "incendiary and inflammatory".

"Referring to the Statement as a "declaration of war" is not the kind of language that is suitable for a modern liberal democracy like Australia. Historically, petitions have always been issued by Indigenous populations to the Crown," they said in a statement.

"The earliest petitions in Australia were issued 1800 and 1831 in NSW. The Uluṟu Statement was issued in that vein; except our representatives at Uluṟu decided to issue the statement to the Australian people."

In his speech, Mr Mundine said most Indigenous people are "doing fine".

"Mundine insists Australia is now equal... despite the fact that First Nations people face a lifespan that is more than eight years shorter than the rest of the Australian population," Uluru Dialogue said.

"He insists that the main issue remaining for First Nations people is getting their kids to school. He conveniently ignores the fact that First Nations children suffer deafness and ear diseases at eight times the rate of the population."

Mr Mundine was later pressed on controversies raised after a conservative conference he chaired in August, and comments made by the groups media advisor.

A comedian performing at the Conservative Political Action Conference meet 'acknowledged' "traditional rent-seekers, past, present and emerging," and described Traditional Owners as "violent black men".

CPAC's media advisor has also questioned the Indigeneity of, among others, Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney, Senator Malarndirri McCarthy and yes campaigner Thomas Mayo.

"These guys look just as European as they do Aboriginal," she wrote in an online post.

In response on Tuesday, Mr Mundine fell short of condemning the behaviour and said "comedians can make jokes, let's be honest" and he would not become "the overlord of what is comedy and what is not".

The Uluru Dialogue said he actively "shut down" the related questions.

"While he complains about racism and division, he shut down questions about his chairmanship of CPAC Australia," they said.

On Monday, Uluru Dialogue hosted their latest discussion in Hobart on Monday night.

The group has hosted regional and metro events in the lead up to the referendum.

In Tasmania, they said Australians are in a "tug-of-war" of how to vote.

"It's been a very difficult campaign, but what we've found, at least in the work we do as the Uluru Dialogue - we've been running face to face meetings across the country since last year - is that when Aussies come in and hear the facts, without all of the disruptive noise which is happening around the Voice, they tend to leave as 'Yes' voters," they said.

"Whether it's Far North Queensland, Central Queensland, Southeast Queensland, regional and remote New South Wales, we've had lots of 'No' people who have come in and left as 'Yes".

Earlier on Monday, Mr Mundine said there was still a high number of Indigenous Australians with little understanding on the Voice.


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