Australia’s Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney has slammed inflammatory claims that British colonization had no lasting negative impact on indigenous people.
Coalition senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price made the controversial comments during a provocative speech at the National Press Club, highlighting her opposition to an indigenous voice.
Ms Burney said she was shocked by the remarks, calling them “simply wrong”.
“They are offensive and a real betrayal of the many families who have experienced things like the Stolen Generations,” the minister said.
Historian Henry Reynolds said Senator Price’s statements were far from the truth.
Australia’s Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney (pictured) said Senator Price’s comments were being swept under the rug, like the Stolen Generation.
Jacinta Price said indigenous people were better off thanks to British colonization
He described the colonization as one of the greatest land grabs in human history and the start of a catastrophe.
“This clearly goes against a whole generation of history that has told us a totally different story,” he said.
Jason Agostino, medical adviser to the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organization, reflected on the impacts of colonization during a parliamentary inquiry on Friday.
“The root of the high prevalence of type 2 diabetes lies in the impacts of colonization, coupled with socio-economic disadvantage,” he said.
“Too many people still lack access to clean tap water, healthy, affordable food, or a home with proper refrigeration. »
Speaking at the National Press Club in Canberra this week, Senator Price replied: “I’ll be honest, no” when asked if the situation for Indigenous people was worse because of British colonization.
“A positive impact? Absolutely. I mean, now we have running water, we have food readily available,” said Senator Price.
“Many of us have the same opportunities as every other Australian in this country.
“We certainly have one of the best systems in the world in terms of democratic structure compared to other countries – that’s why migrants are flocking to Australia.
“If we continue to tell Indigenous people that they are victims, well, we are effectively removing their agency,” she said.
Former AFL champion Michael Long completed his march to Canberra from Melbourne on Thursday in support of the Yes vote and said indigenous people were disadvantaged in Australia.
“The real priority is to close the gap. All these things like life expectancy and housing. I mean, we were talking about this stuff decades ago and it’s still relevant today,” he said.
“I don’t want to talk about closing the gap in 20 or 30 years. Let’s do something ! IIt’s amazing that in 2023 we haven’t made it.
Former AFL champion Michael Long said it was ‘unbelievable that in 2023 we still haven’t made it’, referring to Indigenous disadvantage (pictured with Prime Minister)
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton supported Senator Price, despite his failure to support a policy of coalition of local and regional Indigenous voices.
Mr Dutton has previously said he would support regional “Indigenous Voice”-style bodies rather than a national model.
Mr Dutton said people should listen to Ms Price and not “other people’s views on the capital”, saying his comments were drawn from his experience of living in Alice Springs.
“She was courageous, willing to stand up for what she believes in and believes passionately in creating a better society for Indigenous Australians,” he told Nine’s Today Show.
During the interview, Mr Dutton returned to his previous calls for a second referendum on constitutional recognition of indigenous peoples, should the next vote fail.
Minister Murray Watt said Mr Dutton was “so addicted to saying ‘no’ that he was now saying ‘no’ to his own idea”.
Nationals senator Bridget McKenzie said a referendum on constitutional recognition had been Coalition policy for more than a decade.
“I believe it is time to recognize our first Australians as a statement of fact in our founding document,” she said.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart called for a voice in Parliament rather than symbolic recognition in the constitution.