Meet Sherry Sufi.
Sufi is the chairman of the policy committee for the Western Australian Liberal party and last month wrote an op-ed for conservative think tank Menzies House that was highly critical of efforts to recognise Aboriginal people in the Australian constitution.
BuzzFeed News spoke to Sufi yesterday, who said the Recognise campaign being funded by the government was a political effort to divide the country.
"Constitutional recognition is a divisive, political move. It's a move to divide the country. We've seen the same sort of thing begin with the national apology to the stolen generations a few years ago," he said over the phone.
"It's probably not going to end there. What's next? We find the union jack offensive, so let's replace it with the Aboriginal flag?"
Sufi said the people behind the campaign were acting like victims and that young Aboriginal people were being influenced by US rap lyrics.
"The Recognise campaign thrives on a mindset of victimhood. It's kind of like US rap lyrics you know. They say stuff, 'well they hate us bro'. You get young people growing up with that mindset."
The most prominent Indigenous member of parliament, Ken Wyatt also happens to be a critical part of the WA Liberal party.
Wyatt is the first Aboriginal person to sit on the frontbench and is considered one of the leading voices in the Recognise campaign. He said Sufi's comments about victimhood and the apology are "disappointing" considering the policy chair had applied for a job in his office, twice.
"His comments are extremely disappointing and what's interesting is he applied for a job with me on two occasions and wanted to make a contribution [to Indigenous affairs] and it's the absolute antithesis of what he outlined during the interview," he said.
"I just find that absolutely intriguing from somebody who holds a senior position within the political party which its national prime ministers... firstly acknowledged the apology and certainly they are committed to constitutional recognition."
On the phone to Sufi, BuzzFeed News asked which US rappers he thought spread the "victimhood" mindset and he named "Tupac" and other "underground rappers".
He then changed the subject.
"I have Aboriginal friends. I grew up with them.
"I probably connect with them better than a lot of them would with others."
Mark Di Stefano is a media and politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Mark Di Stefano at email@example.com.
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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