Leading No campaigner Warren Mundine’s short-lived campaign to contest the casual NSW Liberal senate position to be vacated by former foreign minister Marise Payne is over.
The decision follows what has been a bruising week for Mr Mundine after he was forced to backtrack on his position on treaties with Indigenous Australians.
Asked on ABC’s Insiders program whether treaties were more likely if the referendum failed, Mr Mundine responded: “Yeah because then, on 15 October, if it is a no vote, that’s when the real work starts.”
But when asked to clarify his position on Sunday, the No advocate instead referred to “native title and land rights”.
Mr Mundine also revealed he would like the date of Australia Day changed, a position contradicting other leading No campaigners.
It’s understood that one of his businesses is undertaking a contract with the federal government that could potentially preclude him from parliament.
The withdrawal means that former NSW government minister Andrew Constance is now the clear frontrunner for the vacancy; however, other candidates are expected to put their names forward before nominations close on November 4.
Previously, Mr Mundine had served as the candidate for the federal seat of Gilmore in the 2019 election and as Labor Party president.
Mr Constance previously contested a NSW Liberal senate vacancy after former senator Jim Molan died in January this year.
While Mr Constance was ultimately unsuccessful, in part due to his failing to secure the backing of left factional heavyweights in the NSW Liberal Party, he is expected to secure their support for the upcoming preselection.
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/breaking-news/prominent-no-campaigner-warren-mundine-pulls-out-of-nsw-liberal-senate-race/news-story/5e052e047449ce020ce7a35ed14706b4 Prominent No campaigner Warren Mundine pulls out of NSW Liberal senate race