Nyunggai Warren Mundine has been awarded one of the nation’s highest accolades, an officer of the Order of Australia, for services to Indigenous Australia.
The Bundjalung man and head of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council is often seen as a polarizing figure in Indigenous Affairs but has for more than three decades been a strong advocate for the advancement of Aboriginal people.
A successful businessman and former national president of the Australian Labor Party, Mr Mundine is a strong Catholic and a firm believer in the economic empowerment of Australia’s First Nations peoples.
He has always argued that welfare dependence and government handouts to Aboriginal people do more harm than good, a stance that has often brought him into conflict with some sections of his community.
A powerful voice for the nuclear industry, Mr Mundine is also chair of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation, the Australian Indigenous Chamber of Commerce and Andrew Forrest’s Generation One charity.
He told the ABC that he “felt funny” after being named in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
“You don’t go into these things thinking for medals or accolades or anything like that. You just go into things to see that you can play a little bit of a role in there,” he told the ABC.