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PM "Remains Committed" To Indigenous Advisory Council After Dumping Its Leader

“The prime minister is committed to the continuation of the Indigenous Advisory Council."

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Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull says he "remains committed" to his hand-picked Indigenous Advisory Council after refusing to renew Warren Mundine's contract as the council's chair.

The PM says he will continue to support the beleaguered Indigenous Advisory Council (IAC) despite heavy criticism from the Indigenous community since it was established in 2013 by former prime minister Tony Abbott.

A spokesperson for the prime minister told BuzzFeed News that Turnbull remains committed to the council, and new members will be selected soon.

"Members' terms were extended until 31 January and then the appointment of new members goes through usual Cabinet processes,” the spokesperson said.

The former chair of the IAC, Warren Mundine, had a notoriously rocky relationship with Turnbull.

Mundine publicly berated Turnbull several times about the infrequency of his meetings with the IAC and called a review by the government into the high rates of Indigenous incarceration a "joke" and a "waste of taxation money".

"I don't know who the dickhead is who actually thought up this incredibly brilliant idea," Mundine told Sky News.

"I just find this a joke, and I'm getting sick and tired of the crap that is coming out of this government in regard to Indigenous Affairs."

The IAC has long been criticised by the wider Indigenous community because it was a hand-picked group instead of one elected by the community. The council has also been plagued by several factional conflicts.

BuzzFeed News requested comment from the Indigenous affairs minister, Nigel Scullion, but was told, "It’s the prime minister's advisory council and we will leave any public comments about the council to the [Prime Minister's Office]."

BuzzFeed News understands that new members of the council will be chosen by the end of February.

Formerly with BuzzFeed News, Allan Clarke is a NITV reporter based in Sydney.

Contact Allan Clarke at arielle.benedek+AC@buzzfeed.com.

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