Chansey Paech to Jacinta Price: 'Finger pointing must stop'


p2405 Chansey PaechIn an opinion piece published in The Australian on March 6 Jacinta Price, town councillor who hopes to enter Federal politics for the CLP, took aim at Indigenous leaders across the country for not being “more outspoken” on the question of protecting children.  
“It is gut-wrenching to picture a grown man raping a two-year-old,” the piece began, “but for many it seems easier to ignore it than to be enraged. Otherwise, why are many of our Aboriginal leaders now pushing on to other matters?”
Among those she singled out were Aboriginal Northern Territory MLAs Chansey Paech, Sandra Nelson, Ngaree Ah Kit, Lawrence Costa, Ken Vowles and Selena Uibo.
Mr Paech, Member for Namatjira (above), responded to the criticism in the Legislative Assembly last night, The Australian to date having declined to publish his and his colleagues’ response to Ms Price’s attack. Below is a slightly shortened version of his speech.
There have been failings in child protection over many years in the Northern Territory, by both sides of politics. Everyone must take responsibility. The Chief Minister and the Northern Territory Government have taken responsibility for the system that failed this girl.
What the Northern Territory Government has done over many years, is put over 1000 children into out-of-home-care. This is nothing to be proud of, however it flies in the face of claims that abused children are somehow ignored.
The Northern Territory has strong legislation, policies and procedures that underpin this principal. All notifications, including those related to sexual exploitation and harm, are assessed. If an investigation finds that a child should be removed, then this occurs.
To go with the highest rates of Aboriginal out-of-home-care in the nation, the Northern Territory also has the highest rates of Aboriginal incarceration in the nation, by a long way. As Aboriginal Territorians, this outrages us. This is what hurts us, but is also what motivates us to make real change.
We have been all too happy to put children into care and incarcerate Aboriginal people for generations. We have been all too happy to put young people into detention centres, which we know has turned them into young adult criminals.
We have been in office since August 2016, and during that time have met with a large cohort of community-based organisations, community members and elected representatives to discuss the issues that challenge our children and families are faced with in the Northern Territory.
p2343-Jacinta-PriceI should point out and I would point out that aspiring CLP politician and town councillor, Jacinta Price (right) has not once, not once met with any Aboriginal MLA from the Northern Territory Government, not once. Advocating for another intervention into the Northern Territory is destructive and divisive. Our communities are still recovering from the erosion of local community capacity.
Instead of perpetrating politics of personality and division I call on Ms Price to make it clear to Territorians where she stands on the real issues. Does she support this government, our government’s work to reduce alcohol related crime and antisocial behaviour issues? Does she support our housing programs? Does she support making sure Aboriginal Territorians are involved in the design and delivery of programs that affect them?
Will she ensure that the Alice Springs Town Council supports our efforts to mitigate the real harm being caused by alcohol abuse in my town? Will she lobby her CLP and Liberal supporters to abandon the destructive and racist CDP Program which is causing so much harm in the bush communities and is forcing many people to relocate to urban centres? Will she support and continue to support that racist policy?
Will she lobby her Federal colleague, the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion to stand by his commitment to match our $1.1bn investment into remote housing, instead of backing away from his initial support like he cowardly has? Or will Ms Price continue to push the agenda of her supporters like Warren Mundine, Adam Giles and Twiggy Forrest and support the defunding and closure of bush communities; the introduction of the disgraceful and racist cashless debit card; and calls for another intervention into the Northern Territory?
We make no apologies, as Indigenous MLAs of this Legislative Assembly for aiming to have less children in care, more children living safely and securely with their families.
We will work to ensure that Aboriginal families have the opportunity to live safely in a house that is of a reasonable standard, that is able to be locked for security and that is not over crowded. We will work to ensure that Aboriginal Territorians have the opportunity to work while staying strong in culture and on community. We will not stand by and watch the Federal Government push our people away from their country, their spiritual connection to country.
The argument that we leave children with Aboriginal families to make ourselves feel okay is just a cheap political attempt to further people’s political agendas and that is disgraceful. Using children who have come from traumatic experiences as political pawn for your own agenda is a disgrace.
The finger pointing and blame game must stop if Aboriginal Territorians are to affect real and meaningful change and our children are to have a bright and safe future.
I also want to place on the record that Child Protection and Kinship Care are not mutually exclusive. We can achieve both and we will achieve both. I take great offence to people standing up proclaiming on the east coast that they know what is in the best interest of an Aboriginal child. Have they even been to an Aboriginal community? Have they ever understood the deep connection Aboriginal people have to their country, people and culture?
I challenge those people to come to the Northern Territory. Our communities are not all bad places. Remote communities in the Northern Territory are full of life, love and culture.
I do not know one place across this nation that does not have its challenges. But it is our role, as members of parliament and as legislators, to look after our most vulnerable people. That is what we are doing. We will not be silent. We will stand up for our people in the Northern Territory.
The Alice Springs News Online offers Jacinta Price the right of reply.


  1. Hear Hear!
    What a well-executed argument and expression from Mr Paech. I’m glad that someone has stood up and spoken about this matter. Using a child is not good and we’ve seen Ms Price hop from issue to issue. I think a few months ago it was men’s rights, then Australia Day and now children, what’s next?
    What has she delivered?

  2. Erwin, what has Ms Price promoted as councillor? Has she put forward any motions at all?
    What kind of input has she had on council?
    It would be interesting to see her record.
    Will she be actually promoting anything as Federal pollie or just following the pack?

  3. Whilst I agree with you Suzanne, how the hell do these people get voted in?
    Perhaps we need to be a bit more discerning when we go to the polls.

  4. Too right Suzanne. Chansey has spoken from the heart and most of us share similar views.
    Ms Price just seems so angry and bitter lately. She has not once mentioned working with us to address the issues of concern. She just goes on and on about how we’ve all failed and she is constantly magnifying the problems.
    Chansey on the other hand is solution focused and willing to work with his people.
    That is what we need from our Indigenous politicians and the rest of the government if they really want make positive changes.

  5. When it comes to issues it can be endless on which one to talk about today.
    But as it is said, start the day by making your bed.
    Instead of perpetrating politics of personality and division, go on to say how the CDP Program is causing so much harm. It is forcing many people to relocate to urban centres.
    How has this been determined? Wouldn’t a lot of urban drift be due to youth being bored and unemployed, adults on holidays either for something to do, have a social drink or visit family?
    The one agenda of all those CLP colleagues have been very publicly advertised as supporters of indigenous self-determination, creating jobs and improving standards of living in remote areas.
    Wouldn’t it be great to all get together where it started, at Uluru?
    As “together” I refer to people that make a difference, not rooms full of bureaucrats on a talk fest.
    You have challenged people to come to the Northern Territory. Make it happen.
    Discuss the issues of unemployment, lack of motivation due to the bureaucracy stopping those that try.
    I have contacts of Aboriginal businesses at Uluru that have been attempting to start working with Anangu youth for over three years. They would attend for sure.
    Why is there discussion of housing, and why encourage building remote communities larger if they are only going to be filled with a welfare dependent society with an ever increasing bill for the taxpayer?
    This is leading to the same if not larger issue than we have today.
    So please don’t be silent or silenced.
    RSVP, Jacinta Price, Scott McConnell, Chancey Paech, Andrea Mason, Warren Mundine, Adam Giles, Twiggy Forest and other Territory MLAs we don’t hear much of.

  6. Hi “Gammon”: Google Cr Price on this site and it will take you to our extensive town council news coverage. It reveals how much or how little she is contributing to council business.
    Erwin Chlanda, Editor

  7. Thanks Chansey for a very considered point of view.
    Utilising children as a political football for self-promotion or notoriety is abhorrent. It is not enough to haphazardly go on media and call for another Intervention or paternalistic approach.
    Failed policy experiments like the aforementioned have been a major contributing factor to the complete social disengagement we are seeing.
    The Intervention for example wasted billions of taxpayer dollars and had no outcomes in any key social indicators for remote Aboriginal people.
    Where are Howard and Brough in all of this? Stronger Futures, Closing the Gap?
    The failure of these experiments is not the fault of Aboriginal communities, but poorly implemented policies from Government, complete lack of an informed remote engagement policy and comes down to the simplest of things like devaluing the use of First Languages as a tool to properly engage.
    The list is endless. We know that by the time these billions have been spent, only the small change actually makes it on ground in remote areas. Yet, Aboriginal people are blamed for the failure.
    It has been argued for decades that while infrastructure, overcrowding, inept public housing, community wide ill-health, lack of employment and education opportunities etc. etc. etc., continue in remote areas we will continue to see the ever increasing trend towards substance abuse, disengagement, unemployment, movement to town and abject poverty.
    These factors obviously lead to the endangering of our children, wives and families. All the while people like Tony Abbott talk “lifestyle choices” and call for the closure of remote communities.
    There is a significant problem in our communities that we as men need to be accountable for a take action accordingly.
    There are programs like Codes for Life (Desert Knowledge) and Akwerrene Mwerre Arnkentye (Good Spirit Men’s Place) that are recently established and that have the ability to do make a major shift in the health of men, our roles in this community and responsibility towards our families and ourselves.
    They don’t sugar coat these issues.
    There is a significant unaddressed issue with mental health and well-being of Aboriginal men that has multifaceted, inter-generational causes.
    Many Aboriginal men were victims of violence in the home, without key role models and while not making excuses, it’s paramount these are addressed on an individual and community level to prevent some of the repulsive behavior we are seeing.
    Behaviours that have nothing to do with traditional desert cultures. Such programs need the support of people who have a voice or speak for Central Australia and I encourage those who do to get behind them.
    The notion that only one person in Alice Springs has the courage to talk up against issues like family violence is ridiculous.
    Female leaders within the Arrernte (and other) desert communities have been advocating for change and speaking to Government for decades, this is nothing new. They have been ignored.
    They have told Government that we need children and families to grow up strong with culture and language, because we know that a person with strong identity and grounding is likely to have a better sense of identity and well-being throughout their life. This requires investment.
    They have argued for better housing on communities, jobs, restriction on the sales of alcohol and investment in land management and cultural programs that have proven physical, social and employment outcomes.
    I agree wholeheartedly with Chansey that the finger pointing must stop.
    I encourage those with a public profile, those appearing on national television and media outlets; come up with real solutions to these very real problems.
    Don’t throw slang that supports the closeted ignorant ideologies within Alice Springs and Australia and that will lead to future punitive measures that serve to further compound these social problems.
    Engage with local Arrernte men and women. Talk to our brilliant older women. Hear what they are saying and advocate for the change they have spoken of for decades.
    Talk to men! That’s what’s really needed.
    Joel Liddle Perrurle. Alice Springs.

  8. No humble pie eaten here! No struggle faced here! And no empathy found here! No independent thinking to be found!

  9. Racists seek to distract, to divert, to avoid addressing various real issues, they concentrate attention on their racist goals, abusing terms “Aboriginal”, “Indigenous”, “Traditional” and others.
    The substantive issues are basic human rights issues and education, issues not particular to any racial group.
    Ongoing mismanagement, failure to achieve, of Aboriginal Land Rights (NT) Lands Trusts is primarily due to ongoing racist Commonwealth “without recourse” funding.
    Commonwealth allows the trusts as land owners to disclaim otherwise common responsibilities of land owners.
    We needs to stop providing, whether it is $1.10 or $1.1bn, from public funds into ALR(NT) remote housing.
    Funding should resume when reasonable, conventional requirements for securities are provided to offset risks, like loss of assets, loss of lease, even loss of ownership-title to land.
    Other Australians are required to provide such securities to satisfy financial conditions for conventional housing and other loans.
    Only when reasonable, secure, conventional leases in the ALR(NT) are available should public funds for housing and other activities within ALR(NT) lands become available.

  10. Nice speech, yep, a whole lot of very nice words. What Cr Paech will actually ever achieve for the long term remains to be seen. We’ll see.

  11. I do agree with Cr. Jacinta Price on the first three paragraphs of this story.
    Where is the rage of elected NT Aboriginal politicians and leaders across the country, not just on child protection, which should be high on the list, but many other issue affecting Aboriginal people like the alcohol scourge, joblessness, homelessness, health, education and so the list goes on.
    Real everyday issues, year in year out.
    Why get elected just to remain inert and mute when your people need you to fight for them (in a political sense).


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