Being ignorant Yanks no one around here knows who Warren Mundine is so before we get into what he said to KPMG Australia and why let’s briefly cover his CV. I linked this in today’s Monday morning news brief but thought we could use the whole story. Plus it isn’t often I get the chance to legitimately use the word “cunt” in a story involving a Big 4 professional services firm so yay to that, big fans of profanity here.
Take it away, ChatGPT.
Warren Mundine is an Australian Indigenous leader, businessman, and former politician. He’s been involved in various aspects of Australian public life, advocating for Indigenous rights and economic development. Mundine has also been a member of the Australian Labor Party and served as the national president of the Australian Labor Party. In 2012, he left the Labor Party and later joined the Liberal Party. He’s had a diverse career, including roles in the corporate sector and Indigenous organizations.
Asked if he’s known for using profanity our future AI overlord said:
No, Warren Mundine is not particularly known for using profanity. He has generally maintained a professional and measured tone in his public appearances and communications. While individuals may express themselves differently in various contexts, Mundine has typically focused on conveying his ideas and perspectives in a thoughtful and respectful manner, especially when addressing important issues such as Indigenous rights and social justice.
Well that’s going to change when the next GPT update rolls out.
As covered by Daily Mail this morning but first reported by less reputationally challenged publication The Guardian, Mundine sent a series of “foul-mouthed text messages to a top accounting firm” after KPMG cheaped out on his speaker fee and later canceled his appearance altogether.
Toward the end of last year, Mundine was invited to speak to KPMG’s board and executives, something he does quite regularly and is happy to do. He was invited because the 2023 Australian Indigenous Voice referendum would have altered the Australian Constitution to recognize the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice in parliament and businesses were educating their staff on it. Leading up to the vote, Indigenous figureheads like Mundine were critical of corporations running “biased education programs” and pushing corporate agendas. “These big corporations, they’ve all gone woke and they’ve been sucking on the Kool-Aid,” he said to The Australian in January. Mundine was publicly anti-Voice and urged voters to think carefully before voting.
Why the corporates are supporting the Voice is because they have been advised by one side of the debate. Jacinta & I tried to put an other side to them but companies such @KPMG refused.
— Nyunggai Warren Mundine AO (@nyunggai) December 29, 2022
Jacinta is Jacinta Yangapi Nampijinpa Price, another former politician and prominent anti-Voicer.
Around the time Mundine was talking to the media about firms chugging Kool-Aid, KPMG was planning to host optional seminars for employees “committing to work with pro-voice organisations to ‘educate our own people,’ according to a firm spokesperson.
So anyway, Mundine was tapped to speak to KPMG Australia leadership, presumably after his vocal criticism of wokeness and bias to offer a different viewpoint. According to DM the firm said “we will pay you,” he told the firm that’ll be $10,000, the firm said nah. At that point Mundine said to one of the partners on the negotiation “don’t you like paying Aboriginals?” and the firm eventually offered him five thousand. He accepted their offer but KPMG ended up canceling.
“It was compensating for some of my time and also the flights,” Mundine said to The Guardian. “I was unhappy with KPMG and I am still unhappy with the way they treated me. I have not had any conversations with them for months. If big corporations are going to get Aboriginal people in, whatever the topic is, they should pay. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have done a hell of a lot of stuff for free over the years.”
In March he sent a partner a series of messages expressing his disappointment:
Mundine used the N-word to describe how he felt the big four firm had treated him over many months, before warning the partner he was “going to treat you cunts like you treated me!”
“I’m a proud Aboriginal man,” he said in the text messages. “I have [had] a gutful of KPMG. I’m going to treat you cunts like you treated me!
“And for me to talk like this tells you how angry I am.”
Although Guardian published the word “cunts” without censorship, they didn’t publish screenshots of the messages. That’s alright, due to their much looser editorial standards we have this from the Mail:
It seems pretty obvious the messages were leaked to the press by the partner on the receiving end of them, the Mail said as much in their headline: “Warren Mundine: I’m a proud Aboriginal man who asked a Big Four accounting firm to pay me to give a speech. Instead, KPMG leaked my private texts – but I stand by every furious word I said.”
DM’s story is a bit different:
Mr Mundine said it was ‘predictable’ his text exchanges would find their way into the media.
‘They were massive Yes people so I am not surprised private emails and text messages have been leaked,’ he said.
‘I expected it because of the type of people these are. They sat down with people who were calling Australians racist who were calling Australia a racist country.’
The firm had called him at the end of last year saying it had read an op-ed he wrote arguing that corporate Australia needed to listen to both the Yes and No cases for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
‘They said, “We will pay you,”‘ Mr Mundine said.
‘I said, “Sure, ‘I’ll take 10 grand to come and talk because it is going to take up a bit of my time.”
‘I never heard anything for a while and they got back to me and said, “We decided to go a different way,” and I said, “Fair enough.”‘
He said he doesn’t regret the messages and actually I think he called me a cunt too. “I laugh about some of these media people who want to get dirt on me. They should go buy my book and read it because I have a chapter called “I am a c***”,’ he said. Whatever, wouldn’t be the first time.