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Jacinta Price, Peter FitzSimons: Feud erupts over Sun-Herald interview

Aboriginal Senator Jacinta Price accused author and journalist Peter FitzSimons of being “rude and aggressive” to her during an interview.

In a piece published on Sunday, Senator Price spoke to FitzSimons about her staunch opposition to the proposed Indigenous vote to parliament, which he strongly supports.

In a social media post published on Sunday, the Country Liberal Party senator wrote: “I don’t know if I would do another interview with the dude. He accused me of giving racists a voice, but it wasn’t printed.’

FitzSimons denies her characterization of how the interview went, saying her claims are “complete and utter… nonsense.”

Aboriginal Senator Jacinta Price accused author and journalist Peter FitzSimons of being 'rude and aggressive' to her in a phone interview last week

Aboriginal Senator Jacinta Price accused author and journalist Peter FitzSimons of being ‘rude and aggressive’ to her in a phone interview last week

In the since-deleted Facebook post, Ms Price claimed the FitzSimons interview got off to a good start last Thursday, but claimed he became “aggressive…condescending and rude” to her.

She said it was “like talking to a brick wall” and that she felt “offended”.

“I’m not a wilting violet, but he’s a very aggressive guy, his interview style is very damn aggressive, he doesn’t need to intervene,” she said.

“By accusing me of somehow empowering racists because the issues I am raising are confrontational, he completely loses the point.

“I said to him, ‘Get down from the bloody ivory tower and come to one of my communities.'”

FitzSimons strongly refuted Ms. Price’s claims. The interview was a “professional exchange,” he said.

“Recorded every word, as I told her,” FitzSimons told me the Australian‘s Media Diary.

He said the interview was conducted without a raised voice and that Ms Price approved of the last story.

“This is not even remotely a matter of interpretation. Friendly interview, nice text exchange at the end,’ he said.

Peter FitzSimons (right) is pictured with his wife, television host Lisa Wilkinson, in 2016

Peter FitzSimons (right) is pictured with his wife, television host Lisa Wilkinson, in 2016

Senator Price said he was shocked by FitzSimons’ stance on Indigenous issues.

“I was really stunned and exhausted by the energy it took to defend myself.

“I got the feeling that what I was trying to do wrong and my vote is not as legitimate as those who claim to suffer under 250 years of colonization,” she said.

Daily Mail Australia contacted both Ms Price and FitzSimons for comment.

In the interview published in Nine In the papers, Ms Price has accused Indigenous voters in parliament of believing ‘racial stereotypes’.

She had also used her maiden speech to parliament on July 27 to protest the concept of an indigenous vote to parliament and a proposed referendum to enshrine it in the constitution.

Ms Price told FitzSimons that the broad bipartisan support for the Voice is the result of too many Australians ‘drinking the Kool-Aid’ and not listening to a silent majority of Aborigines.

Rather than being a unifying voice to promote Indigenous issues, she claimed it would simply be another layer of bureaucracy separating her people from white Australia and assuming they would always be “victims.”

Senator Price also defended another bitter critic of The Voice, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, as someone who “cared deeply about Indigenous Australians.”

This came after Senator Hanson stormed out of the upper house instead of going through a recognition to the country.

Ms Price said traveling around the world with her teacher parents – Indigenous mother and white father – when she was 13 opened her eyes ‘to how we are all human beings’.

Senator Price said she became politically active when she noticed 'stories about Indigenous Australians' that she disagreed with

Senator Price said she became politically active when she noticed ‘stories about Indigenous Australians’ that she disagreed with

She said she was too busy for politics when she was young as she had her first baby when she was 17 and two more by the time she was 21.

But she later became politically active when she noticed “stories about Indigenous Australians” that she did not agree with.

While recognizing the difficulties faced by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, she believed that an Indigenous vote of parliament was not necessary.

Colonization and subsequent laws had a lot to do with some of the critical issues. I’m not denying that,” she told FitzSimons.

“But I know very well that another part of it is that we accept violence within our culture. It’s a patriarchal culture and meanwhile, the Voice to Parliament like this doesn’t really indicate how it should help.’

Senator Price defended One Nation leader Pauline Hanson (pictured) saying she is not racist and in fact 'cares deeply about Indigenous Australians'

Senator Price defended One Nation leader Pauline Hanson (pictured) saying she is not racist and in fact ‘cares deeply about Indigenous Australians’

The former deputy mayor of Alice Springs said it “feels like yet another bureaucracy” and she didn’t know why it should be included in the Australian constitution.

In her maiden speech to parliament on July 27, she outlined her opposition to an indigenous voice in parliament.

“Perhaps a piece of advice, because that’s what you’re looking for: Listen to everyone, not just those who support your virtue signaling agenda, but also those who contradict you,” she said.

“Personally, I’ve had more than enough to be symbolically recognized.”

FitzSimons said he was surprised she supported Australia Day on January 26, the anniversary of the white settlement.

Senator Price replied that for her it is not about the impact of colonization on us black boys. It’s about how we’ve come together as people from all kinds of different backgrounds since then’.

She said you could pick any day of the year when you would discover that something terrible happened on that day in Australian history.

The 11 Indigenous MPs of the Australian Parliament

JACINTA PRICE: Nationals Senator for the Northern Territory

MARION SCRYMGOUR: Labor member for Lingiari

JANA STEWART: Labor senator for Victoria

LIDIA THORPE: Greens senator for Victoria

LINDA BURNEY: Minister of Labor for Indigenous Australians

PAT DODSON: Labor Senator for Western Australia

MALARNDIRRI McCARTHY: Labor Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians

GORDON REID: Labor member for Robertson

DOINDA COX: Greens Senator for Western Australia

KERRYNNE LIDDLE: Liberal Senator for South Australia

JACQUI LAMBIE: Independent Senator for Tasmania

FitzSimons also told Ms. Price that according to many people it is “time to recognize the shocking past…and do everything possible to mend the future,” but she is “a very prominent voice that makes us depressed.”

Senator Price said that opinion is just a… story created to suggest that most Aboriginal people thought so.

She said many Indigenous people on Australia Day did not see themselves as victims of history, but saw themselves as “proud Australians”.

FitzSimons asked Ms. Price if it ever bothered her that her supporters included “people with little or no respect for the Aborigines,” such as Pauline Hanson.

She replied that she didn’t think Ms Hanson was racist and in fact “cares deeply about Indigenous Australians” and… her concern was about ‘taking more practical approaches to solving some of our problems’.

Senator Price added that it was unfortunate that more concerned Indigenous Australians were not speaking up about domestic violence, child sexual abuse and alcoholism in their communities.

“They’re more concerned with how the general public sees them, rather than actually solving some of these problems, so they’re silent,” she said.

Ms Price, one of 11 native senators and MPs, said the reason First Nations people have “failed so much” was because they have always been viewed as a separate entity.

She said she “cannot support this idea… We are all just Australian citizens, and we should be treated as such.”

A vote to parliament, if enshrined in the constitution, would mean that indigenous peoples would be seen as victims forever, when instead they would have to stand on their “two bloody feet of their own,” Senator Price said.

She claimed that including a “race-based bureaucracy” in the constitution would drive a wedge between black and white Australia and that she doesn’t want the constitution to treat her differently.

Peter FitzSimons (pictured right, with wife Lisa Wilkinson) had a fiery debate with Aboriginal Senator Jacinta Price about an Indigenous vote to parliament, which he supports and she opposes

Peter FitzSimons (pictured right, with wife Lisa Wilkinson) had a fiery debate with Aboriginal Senator Jacinta Price over an Indigenous vote to parliament, which he supports and she opposes

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