Indigenous advocate Warren Mundine says his family was devastated when they learned one of his brothers had molested five boys while teaching as a Marist Brother in south-western Sydney.
Graeme Mundine was jailed for those crimes and the 63-year-old is currently serving a community correction order for indecently assaulting another boy at the same school.
Warren Mundine told Daily Mail Australia he was unaware his brother – the youngest of 11 siblings – was a paedophile until he was arrested in 2018 and had not spoken to him for 20 years.
‘He was charged, he was found guilty and he went to jail,’ Mr Mundine said.
‘As far as I’m concerned that’s the end of it. We don’t have any relationship and that’s it.’
Mr Mundine was a leading No vote campaigner in the Voice to Parliament referendum along with Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, who has for years lobbied for the protection of Indigenous children from sexual abuse.
Graeme Mundine, the brother of Indigenous advocate Warren Mundine, is a convicted paedophile who was jailed for molesting five boys while teaching as a Marist Brother in south western Sydney. Graeme Mundine is pictured
Ms Price, the Coalition’s Indigenous Australians spokeswoman, put a motion to the Upper House last week calling for a royal commission into child sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities.
She was backed by South Australian Liberal Senator Kerrynne Liddle.
Mr Mundine has not been as vocal as Senator Price in his support for such an inquiry but lashed out at the federal government when Labor and cross-bench MPs voted it down.
‘What a bunch of gutless wonders,’ he wrote on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, on October 18.
The Mundines are a fiercely Catholic family and Warren welcomed the April 2020 High Court’s unanimous decision to quash Cardinal George Pell’s historical child sex convictions.
‘Cardinal Pell has been vindicated,’ he wrote on Twitter at the time. ‘He is innocent of the charges.’
Mr Mundine told Daily Mail Australia his brother’s convictions had no influence on his relative public silence on the issue of child sex abuse in Aboriginal communities.
‘It had nothing to do with that at all,’ he said. ‘I know when I talk about these things that some of Twittersphere say, “Oh, but your brother… “.
‘Well, that’s got nothing to do with me. That didn’t stop me from saying anything. I haven’t spoken to him in over 20 years.
Warren Mundine (above) was a leading No vote campaigner in the Voice to Parliament referendum along with Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, who has been calling for a royal commission into sexual abuse of Indigenous children
Mr Mundine said learning of his brother’s crimes ‘rocked my family and that’s continued’.
‘It’s been a devastating thing to our family because my mother and father made it quite clear how they thought about these things,’ he said.
Mr Mundine said he had spoken about the sexual abuse of Aboriginal children in the past and would do so more in the future.
‘I’ve been fighting for through the economic development stuff for the last 10 years,’ he said. ‘But these issues all work together.
‘I’m going to be talking a lot more about this and working with Jacinta and Kerrynne Liddle about fixing these things.’
Graeme Mundine was convicted in December 2018 after pleading guilty to four counts of committing an act of indecency and two of indecently assaulting a child under 16.
He was jailed by District Court judge Chris O’Brien for a maximum three years with a non-parole period of 18 months for the offences against five teenage victims.
Graeme Mundine, the youngest of 11 siblings, is serving a community correction order for indecently assaulting a student in the 1980s
Mundine’s crimes occurred over four and a half years in the 1980s while he was a dormitory master and teacher at St Gregory’s College, a Marist school at Campbelltown.
Judge O’Brien found Mundine, who had married and moved to the Central Coast after leaving the Marist Brothers, ‘besmirched the reputation of the religious order’.
‘This was a serious breach of trust and abuse of power,’ he said. ‘The offender took advantage of the naivety and vulnerability of the victims.
‘Disturbingly, the events occurred when the victim was seeking guidance or support and was instead met with sexual abuse.
‘The victim impact statements were both powerful and moving.’
The Mundines are a strong Catholic family and Warren Mundine (above) welcomed the High Court’s unanimous April 2020 decision to quash Cardinal George Pell’s child sex convictions
Warren Mundine has not been as vocal as Senator Price in his support for a royal commission into the sexual abuse of Aboriginal children but lashed out at the federal government when Labor and cross-bench MPs rejected it on October 17
After leaving the Marist order, Graeme Mundine was appointed the inaugural chairman of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council.
He later ran the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission within the National Council of Churches in Australia and the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry in the Archdiocese of Sydney.
Mundine was also a founding board member of Jarjum College at Redfern, a Jesuit school set up to educate urban Indigenous children.
In his sentencing remarks, Judge O’Brien acknowledged Mundine’s contribution to the Aboriginal community in the years after he stopped molesting children.
Mundine was supported in the Campbelltown courtroom by his wife, Sydney University academic Gabrielle Russell, and two other relatives.
While in jail, Mundine was interviewed by NSW Police over the 1986 indecent assault of another boy at St Gregory’s and was charged in April 2020, two months before he was due to be paroled.
That fresh charge kept Mundine in jail for a week after the expiration of his sentence but he was granted bail in June to live with his wife on the Central Coast.
Graeme Mundine is pictured with his wife Gabrielle Russell (left) and Catholic education leader Aunty Elsie Heiss when she was awarded an honorary doctorate at the University of Notre Dame in 2010
Mundine pleaded guilty in October and narrowly escaped another jail term when sentenced by District Court judge Andrew Colefax at Campbelltown in December.
Judge Colefax said Mundine had assaulted the teenage victim while he was submitting a mathematics exam.
‘You told him to sit on your lap, which he did,’ Judge Colefax said. ‘You then grabbed him around the chest and pulled him towards you.
‘You rubbed his thighs and grabbed hold of his penis on the outside of his trousers.
‘Your face came in contact with his face and you manipulated his penis for about two minutes before releasing him.’
Mundine broke down in court as he apologised for his offending, which he described as a ‘serious breach of trust’.
‘It’s a terrible thing,’ he told Judge Colefax.
‘After being in prison and meeting people who have been abused, you can see the amount of damage it does to people outside of the physical events that happen at the time.’
Judge Colefax said Mundine, who was taught by the Marist Brothers, had gone straight from school into a celibate lifestyle ‘that is most unusual to most members of the community’.
It was in that context he had committed ‘these terrible crimes against children’.
‘He’s left that world, he’s grown up, and has been living in a fully functional, heterosexual marriage for almost 20 years,’ Judge Colefax said.
Imposing a three-year community correction order (CCO), Judge Colefax said he would have sent Mundine back to jail if he had not already served time in custody.
‘Ideally, His Honour Judge O’Brien should have had this matter before him so he could give you an appropriate sentence for the totality of your offending,’ Judge said.
Mundine’s CCO order included him completing 500 hours of community service work and expires in December.