Think Tank calls for respectful debate around Indigenous voice after attack on Senator’s views

Conservative think tank the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) has called for the debate on the proposed Indigenous Voice to Parliament to be respectful and constructive.

This comes after Indigenous Voice lawyer Noel Pearson told ABC Radio National that the IPA had partly manipulated Northern Territory Indigenous Senator Jacinta Yangapi Nampijinpa Price into a “crazy celebrity vortex” to “live ” on other Indigenous Australians. Pearson also said Price reminded her of One Nation Conservative senator Pauline Hanson.

“She’s caught in a vortex,” Pearson said. “It’s a celebrity whirlwind, it’s very compelling, it gets her in front of people and she gets a lot of cheers, but it’s also a redheaded celebrity whirlwind and ultimately it’s a tragic redheaded celebrity whirlwind that she’s caught up in and involves right-wing people, particularly right-wing think tanks in Sydney and Melbourne – the Institute of Public Affairs and the Center for Independent Studies’.

Both Price and Pearson have worked with the Center for Independent Studies (CIS), with Pearson last working with CSI in 2021 and Price in 2022. Price also appeared on the IPA podcast The Young IPA in 2018.

IPA director Morgan Begg, in a statement to The Epoch Times, said the debate about Voice was important and needed to be conducted in a “respectful and constructive manner, and all sides of the debate deserve to be heard. “

“The Institute of Public Affairs believes that all Australians should be equal and the legal status of Australians should never be determined by skin color or ethnic heritage,” Begg said.

“There is broad agreement on both sides of the debate about how we can improve the lives of Indigenous Australians, including through localism, property rights and regional economic development. We need to unite around practical approaches to improve the lives of all Australians, rather than being divided by race.”

Epoch Times photo
Country Liberal Senator Jacinta Price delivers her inaugural address in the Senate Chamber at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on July 27, 2022. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Australians will not have race as part of the Constitution

Begg also noted in a press release that establishing an exclusively Indigenous body in our constitution would permanently divide Australians by race.

“The Nationals’ position is consistent with Australian values. A growing majority of mainstream Australians share the egalitarian belief that we are all equal and that race has no place in the constitution,” he said.

He noted that in recent research by the IPA, when Australians were asked to agree or disagree with the statement: “All references to race should be removed from the Australian constitution”, 59% of respondents agreed agree that should be the way to go.

Furthermore, while 29 per cent were in favor of the proposal, only 12 per cent of Australians disagreed.

When asked the same question in 2019, the IPA found that 45% of Australians wanted race removed from the constitution, while 16% disagreed.

Begg noted that this result represented an increase in the number of Australians who want references to race removed from our constitution.

“The egalitarian spirit that led Australians to vote in 1967 to remove constitutional references to race remains a dominant value in Australia. Race has no place in our constitution,” Begg said.

“Establishing an exclusively Indigenous body in our constitution would permanently divide Australians by race and on that basis alone, the proposed referendum must be abandoned.”

The vocal debate is heating up

Meanwhile, Price responded to Pearson’s comments social media and in a statement, saying she is no stranger to verbal attacks on her views.

“I am no stranger to attacks from angry men who claim to speak for Aboriginal Australia,” she said in a statement reported by The Australian.

“I didn’t need a crystal ball to know that if you disagree with Voice to Parliament you will be called names, accused of racism, bigotry and also suggested that you are incapable of thinking for yourself . . The ugly side of the Voice to Parliament is now exposed for the country to witness.”

Price has been an outspoken critic of the Indigenous voice proposal to Parliament.

The senator noted that he had spoken to people from communities in the Northern Territory whose first language is not English and that they told him they did not understand what the Voice proposal was about.

She said they are more concerned with how to avoid violence in their lives, how to manage their affairs without being cheated by their relatives dealing with alcohol and substance abuse, or worrying about how to ensure that their children actually get to school. as their remote community is engulfed in alcohol-fueled violence.

“These are the issues that people are concerned about,” Price said.

Price also said the Labor government’s Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney, a Wiradjuri woman, was out of touch with Indigenous communities and that there were many Indigenous Australians who did not support the Voice.

“Minister Burney could take a private jet to a remote community dripping with Gucci and tell the people in the dirt what’s good for them, but they’re in the dark and they’ve been in the dark,” Price said.

Victoria Kelly-Clark


Victoria Kelly-Clark is an Australian reporter focusing on national politics and the geopolitical environment in the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Central Asia region.

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