Aboriginal Senator Jacinta Price slams ‘symbolic’ gestures to Indigenous Australians: Headdress
Controversial new Aboriginal Senator Jacinta Price has spoken out against what she sees as ‘handouts’ and ‘symbolic recognition’ for Indigenous Australians.
The former Deputy Mayor of Alice Springs was elected as a member of the Country Liberal Party in the May 21 poll for the Northern Territory.
Senator Price wore a traditional headdress and used her maiden speech to parliament to oppose the government’s core Indigenous policies.
Senator Price is a frequent critic of the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, an elected body of First Nations representatives enshrined in the Constitution that would advise the government on issues affecting them.
“Personally, I’ve had more than enough of symbolic recognition,” she said in the Senate Chamber on Wednesday evening.
Controversial new Aboriginal Senator Jacinta Price (pictured) denounces what she sees as ‘handouts’ and ‘symbolic recognition’ for Indigenous Australians
“We hear the platitudes of maternity declarations from our now prime minister, who suggest without any evidence that a vote to parliament bestowed upon us by this government’s virtuous act of symbolic gesture will empower us.
His government has yet to demonstrate how this proposed vote will deliver practical results and unite rather than drive a wedge between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
‘No, Prime Minister, we don’t need any new alms… and no, we Indigenous Australians have not come to an agreement on this statement.’
Senator Price also rejected welcome to land ceremonies and recognition of the land as a “reinvention of culture.”
Her speech was just hours after One Nation senator Pauline Hanson stormed out of the country screaming ‘no, I never will and never will’.
The Warlpiri woman launched a rousing defense of Australian history, calling on citizens to “recognize and be proud of our national identity.”
“Without a sense of unity and pride, we leave ourselves vulnerable to outside forces that would enjoy our demise,” she said.
The former Deputy Mayor of Alice Springs (pictured in parliament on Wednesday) was elected for the Northern Territory as a member of the Country Liberal Party in the May 21 poll
Senator Price repeated her frequent refrain that policies aimed at improving Indigenous representation only served to divide Australia.
The right-wing politician also addressed other key issues – the number of Indigenous incarcerations and violence in Aboriginal communities.
She argued that claims of racism, leading to the high percentage of Indigenous people being incarcerated, were a “false story.”
Instead, there was “silence” about how more of the crimes were being committed by indigenous people on victims of their own race.
“Lives … taken in black on black violence deserve better,” she said.
Senator Thorpe argued that the real cause of crime in Aboriginal communities, and why interventions didn’t work in her homeland, was the soft bail laws.
Country Liberal Party Senator Jacinta Price (left) embraces Labor Senator Jana Stewart (right) after her maiden speech on Wednesday night
“Often offenders are released on bail instead of remand, and more often than not while on bail, they commit more violence,” she said.
“We need change and we need the right legislation to influence it.
“My vision, my hope, my goal is that we can make changes that will make women, children and other victims in these communities as safe as all those living in Sydney.”
Senator Price’s views on Indigenous issues are at odds with those of other Aboriginal MPs, and in particular Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe.
She said there is “sufficient parliamentary representation of indigenous peoples” and expressed her strong support for Australia Day to be held on January 26.
Many Aborigines consider the date, which commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet of settlers from Britain, as ‘Invasion Day’ and want it changed.
The right-wing politician discussed other key issues during her maiden speech – the number of Indigenous detentions and violence in Aboriginal communities
Senator Price unsuccessfully ran for the Lingiari seat in 2019, but this time came second in parliament on the ticket to the CLP in the NT.
Her speech contrasted sharply with that of another indigenous MP who also made her first speeches on Wednesday night.
Jana Stewart, the youngest Indigenous woman ever elected to parliament, was a strong supporter of the Voice to Parliament and wanted her people to have “a seat at the table” in discussions about climate change.
“Traditional owners who have cared for the land for tens of thousands of years see it charred and sacred sites destroyed,” she said.
“Traditional land owners should sit at the table.”
Senator Price (pictured with fringe mother Tess Napaljarri Ross) unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lingiari seat, but this time entered parliament for the CLP in the NT
Senator Stewart took Senator Price’s opposite line on Indigenous incarceration, which she said felt “personal” and the lower life expectancy of Aborigines as “reading my future.”
She claimed that Aboriginal people were too often talked about negatively and that they were always seen as ‘a problem’
“That’s why I ask everyone here and out there to think carefully about how you talk about First Nations people… Words are powerful and words matter,” she said.
Senator Stewart also called the stolen generation “genocide,” but insisted it wasn’t to make white people feel guilty, but just to tell the “hard truth about this country’s history.”