Linda Burney treated ‘appallingly’ during Voice debate, feels ‘betrayed’ by Jacinta Nampijinpa Price’s colonisation claim

Linda Burney treated ‘appallingly’ during Voice debate, feels ‘betrayed’ by Jacinta Nampijinpa Price’s colonisation claim
  • PublishedSeptember 15, 2023

The Indigenous Australians minister says she feels betrayed by senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price’s comment that First Nations people are not being affected by colonialism because “we now have running water”.  

Senator Nampijinpa Price was asked during her National Press Club address if she felt there were any ongoing, negative impacts of colonisation on Indigenous Australians.

“No, there’s no ongoing negative impacts of colonisation,” she said.

“I’ll be honest with you, I do not think so. A positive impact, absolutely.”

The Northern Territory senator added: “I mean, now we have running water, readily available food.”

Minister Linda Burney said she felt betrayed and shocked by Senator Nampijinpa Price’s comments. 

“The idea that colonisation in any country where there’s been a colonisation process doesn’t have long and far-reaching effects is simply wrong,” she said. 

Ms Burney took the opportunity to highlight issues that First Nations Australians face today that she hoped a Yes referendum outcome would assist with. 

“Life expectancy, education outcomes, overcrowding and incarceration rates,” she said.

“It is so important to recognise the full story of Australia.”

Ms Burney said First Nations people she had spoken to after Senator Nampijinpa Price’s comments said the remarks had made them feel distressed and disgusted. 

Australians will head to the polls on October 14 to vote to enshrine a constitutional Voice to Parliament for Indigenous Australians. 

The Voice would act as an advisory body on issues pertaining to First Nations people.

Burney ‘inundated with racist abuse’

When asked if he agreed with Senator Price’s comments, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton avoided a direct answer but said she made the comments “in context”. 

“She’s a brave Indigenous woman, and we either accept that people have views, a broad range of views, or we don’t,” Mr Dutton told Channel Nine. 

“You’ve got somebody on display who … had to stand up for what she believes in.” 

When pressed on the life expectancy rate of Indigenous Australians being shorter than the rest of the country, Mr Dutton said Senator Nampijinpa Price’s view of First Nations Australians not being affected by colonialism should not be ignored.

He then accused Ms Burney, who is a Wiradjuri woman born in regional NSW, of having a “capital city view”. 

Speaking to New South Wales Premier Chris Minns while handing out Yes pamphlets in Sydney, Ms Burney described recent weeks as “gruelling”.

This week Ms Burney had been the target of a consistent stream of questioning from the opposition about Voice to Parliament advisory body proposal and about comments from Indigenous academic Marcia Langton.

Whilst discussing the recent sitting weeks, Ms Burney said she had been treated “appallingly” during a “gruelling week of parliament”, and had been the subject of racism and bullying.

Both sides have called for the Voice debate to remain respectful in the remaining four weeks before Australians vote on the proposed constitutional amendment.

“In recent months, my office, social media and email accounts have been inundated with racist abuse,” Ms Burney said in a statement. 

“Racism takes its toll.

“But I will never allow racism to weaken or diminish my resolve to see Australia embrace constitutional recognition through a Voice.

“My message to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are experiencing racism is this: hold your head high, be proud of your identity and who you are.”


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