NT Senator Jacinta Price “does not speak for us or most Aboriginal people,” according to a media release today by the Central Land Council, on behalf of its 90 members, describing them as community leaders and senior cultural men and women who speak for the communities that elected them.
Alice Springs based Senator Price (at right) was this week promoted to shadow minister for Indigenous Australians in Opposition Leader Peter Dutton’s cabinet.
She is a prominent spokesperson for the “No” side in the campaign leading up to the referendum about the Voice.
“She needs to stop pretending we are her people,” CLC deputy chair Warren Williams, from Yuendumu, is quoted in the release.
“Our kids are the apples of our eyes.
“We are not abusers. We love our children. We’d like to know where she got her information from. It is mandatory to report such evidence to the authorities.
“We can do without self-appointed lone crusaders who are unable to bring people of good will together.”
There are many better qualified Aboriginal people, with decades of experience, who have been putting forward solutions for the care, protection and education of children who need a strong voice in Canberra, the release says.
It also quotes Lajamanu community leader Valerie Patterson saying Senator Price was misrepresenting the support for the Voice in remote communities.
“I am a Warlpiri woman and I will vote yes because I believe that having the right to be heard by the parliament and the government will open a door for our children.
“Senator Price should support us, not tell lies about us.”
The release from a meeting at Spotted Tiger, near Atitjere (Harts Range), says council members are sick of Senator Price’s continued attacks on land councils and other peak Aboriginal organisations in the Northern Territory.
“We are tired of her playing politics with the grass roots organisations our old people have built to advocate for our rights and interests,” Mr Williams is quoted.
“Her people are the non-Aboriginal conservatives and the Canberra elite to which she wants to belong.
“She should tell us what her grievances with the CLC are, and if she can really and truly listen to us she is welcome to attend our next council meeting.”
The release says the council is well aware of the scale of the challenges its members and their families face and welcomes anyone who is willing and able to work with them.
“We have many good men and women who are trying hard to make our communities better places, who are desperate to be heard, and Senator Price’s divisive approach isn’t helping,” Mr Williams is quoted, and that by generalising about Aboriginal people without any evidence and authority, Senator Price is hurting Aboriginal people.
“The Voice comes from the people. It’s a big opportunity for us. It opens everything up for us.
“There’s a lot of people who think the same thing. We want to go ahead with it. We will probably never have that chance again.”
Mr Williams is quoted as saying Senator Price needs to educate herself about the views of Yapa [Warlpiri for Aboriginal people].
“We’ve never seen her on communities. She needs to get down to the grass roots and find out the truth, not just speak with to the few people who will talk to her.”
The Alice Springs News has invited Senator Price to respond.
PHOTO: Voice Delegate Group “Yes” at the council meeting. Courtesy CLC.
UPDATE April 21: A spokesperson for Senator Price emailed that she would not comment.