Must-read: Tim Blair on Senator Price and the Jim Crow media

An Aboriginal woman of note arrives for a major engagement in Canberra. Instead of the impressive venue used previously for similar events, however, she is shown to a much smaller room.

Nevertheless, the young woman speaks at the engagement, as had been arranged. A photographer is there. He takes many excellent, expressive shots of the woman as she delivers her speech and answers questions from the crowd.

But the photograph his newspaper runs the next day on its front page doesn’t show the Aboriginal woman.

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25 Responses to Must-read: Tim Blair on Senator Price and the Jim Crow media

  1. C.L. says:

    Instead the newspaper’s selected image – from probably hundreds of options – primarily depicts three white dignitaries in the front row of the audience.

    The preferred image was obviously taken when the photographer’s back was to the venue’s stage.

    For that matter, it was shot even before the invited Aboriginal speaker had appeared.

    Not the photographer’s fault, of course. As mentioned above, he’d likely have submitted hundreds of pictures.

    But that was the one his editors picked. In a front-page story about an Aboriginal woman speaking in Canberra, the Aboriginal woman herself was rendered invisible – only appearing several pages deep in that edition of the paper.

    All of this sounds very 1950s or 1960s, when even Aboriginal public figures – such as they were – generally existed at the media’s margins.

    Some connection with prominent white figures often helped. A 1968 picture of Lionel Rose mock-sparring with Elvis Presley is, outside of Australia at least, possibly the most famous image ever taken of the great Aboriginal boxer.

    But here’s the thing. That story about an Aboriginal woman speaking in a small room and being cut from the front page didn’t happen in the 1950s or 1960s.

    It happened just last week – to Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, who on Thursday delivered one of the most significant National Press Club speeches of the past 50 years.

    The significance wasn’t diminished at all by the fact Price was prevented from speaking in the Press Club’s main hall – closed, as Press Club director and Sydney Morning Herald political correspondent David Crowe explained, due to “renovations we’re doing downstairs”.

    It didn’t matter. If anything, the power of Price’s words was magnified by her dinky surroundings, which gave her an opportunity in her opening remarks to turn a potential negative into a charming positive.

    “I actually appreciate,” she told her crowd, “the intimacy of the room.”

    But Melbourne’s Age newspaper didn’t quite see things in such a sunny way.

    The Age is very much in the Yes camp on the proposed Indigenous Voice to Parliament. Price is a powerful proponent of the No case.

    This may explain why The Age declined to put Price’s picture on the front page, instead running an audience photograph with the caption: “Coalition MPs Barnaby Joyce, Michaelia Cash and Bridget McKenzie at the National Press Club.”

    As for Price herself, she was shoved away to page four or so.

    Consider the historical aspect here. In assembling this front page, nobody at The Age apparently recalled another occasion, nearly 70 years ago now, when a black woman was moved backwards so as to make room for white folk.

    It was a big deal at the time. A suggestion to our Age friends: look up “Rosa Parks”, “1955” and the “Montgomery Alabama bus boycott”.

    Read about it, learn about it and you’ll never move a dissenting black woman to the back of a bus, a building or a once-celebrated Melbourne paper’s rubbish news section ever again. Guaranteed.

    Returning to Canberra and the events of last week, Price next offered a friendly rejoinder to master of ceremonies Crowe’s introduction: “Just a correction. Colin is my husband, not my partner. Just for the record.”

    Right there is one of the most potent declarations of values you’ll see, and it took just 14 simple words.

    Thereafter followed a speech that was the opposite in every way to recent public announcements from the Yes camp’s Marcia Langton.

    Although characterised by a rattled Yes media as negative and dangerous, Price was actually optimistic and defiant. She spoke with the strength and confidence of someone who has endured, but not been defeated.

    She took aim at tomorrow’s fixable concerns rather than continuing a class conflict that should have been buried in 1883 with Karl Marx.

    And she was properly funny, which always deeply wounds the left.

    So hurt them some more. Watch the speech or watch it again. Send it around. Bring joy to the land.


    Tim Blair in the Daily Telegraph
    Image: Detail from a cartoon by Mark Knight in the Herald Sun

  2. NFA says:

    A truly moving speech.

    Thank you for posting this C.L.

  3. Buccaneer says:

    The reaction by the few facts media suggests that her observation about the continuation of class conflict is real and an abomination, the left hasn’t really learned from their support of Jim Crow, the white Australia policy, the KKK, they still have no truck with an uppity black person and will treat them according to the lefts view of their station, less than human, apparently.

  4. Old School Conservative says:

    Is it hyper-bowl to say that Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price would be a great Prime Minister?
    Her handling of her current portfolio would indicate she is capable of the top job.

  5. Entropy says:

    Price would have to step down from the senate and stand for the HoR as a liberal party leader. And why would she want to join that lot, let alone lead them?

  6. Mantaray says:

    I picked the following up from another blog, and am interested in what CL posters / readers think….

    So far as we can see, the proposed ATSI Voice to Parliament has no provision for the people on The Voice to be Aboriginal or TSI. The rationale claimed for this lack of clarity is that an explicit command would be against the Racial Discrimination Act, and that the actual rationale is to load the Voice up with white billionaires, and other ALP mates since indij ethnicity/race is not an explicit pre-requisite.

    Just a dog’s breakfast of F’wittery!

  7. cuckoo says:

    That picture is even weirder than Tim describes it. The main point for the Age is that it shows an indignant aboriginal woman proclaiming and gesturing over the heads of a seated trio of bemused white villains. Without context, you’d think that they are being put in their place by a righteous black woman. Now, I’m relying on a single report I heard at the time, and could have garbled this completely, but my understanding is that that woman was speaking in order to denounce the Voice. She wasn’t heckling Price or the white villains. Can’t be bothered checking, but I’m guessing the Age left that detail out.

  8. Christine says:

    That picture was chosen to give a false impression.
    Agree with cuckoo’s comment.

    Heartening to read Tim Blair’s words of support for Jacinta Price.
    Thank you.

  9. Foxbody says:

    Good point, Mantaray at 8.17

    We already have Labor politicians in Victoria and SA who are “ aboriginal” but have no identifiable aboriginal ancestors.

    Of more concern – there is no process that I am aware of for a credible selection of the 24 members – no electoral roll based on race, no secret ballot. The chosen 24 will just appear organically, and I guarantee we will all recognise the names – the same connected insiders who have been steering the aboriginal bus into the ditch for the last 30 years.

    Dog’s breakfast, you say? This proposal originated at the other end of the puppy.

  10. and says:

    Keg Gravis thinks that the ABC is for the sole use of the “Yes” campaign.

    Megan Davis blasts the ABC in deleted tweet for platforming Voice No campaigners.

  11. C.L. says:

    Stephen Conroy:

    “I think Jacinta Price gave a speech last week which (she will) be embarrassed by when she sits back and reflects on it.”

  12. C.L. says:

    Michael Mansell is a strong NO:

    ‘Doesn’t make sense’: The Aboriginal leader opposed to Voice referendum

    The normal process for friendly governments advancing the cause of Aboriginal people is legislation.

    When Gough Whitlam wanted to remedy racial discrimination in 1975, he did not hold a referendum – he legislated the Racial Discrimination Act.

    When Malcolm Fraser wanted to provide a mechanism for Aboriginals in the Northern Territory to claim lost lands, he did not ask for a referendum – his government enacted the NT Land Rights Act 1976.

    Likewise, when Paul Keating stood against the mining companies and conservatives on native title, Keating did not go to a referendum – he shored up native title through Native Title Act 1993.

    Legislation is the normal way to change things. The constitution is a complex document raising complex legal and political issues. The Australian constitution is an agreement between former British colonies to form a federation of states with a national parliament and a court to resolve disputes. Its purpose is not to declare human rights.

    Legislation does that.

    The 1967 referendum was as much about transferring political and financial responsibility from the states to the more financially endowed federal government as it was about improving the lives of Aboriginals.

    The point is that it does not make sense to force 17 million voters to a referendum every time a proposal about Aboriginals is put forward.

    The dramatic and persistent decline in support for the Voice referendum is a stark reminder to Voice campaigners that legislation, not referendum, is the primary means to achieve a political end.

    Successful referendums are rare, with only 8 out of 44 passing in 122 years. Trying to win a referendum for an obscure advisory body was always going to be a risky and difficult task.

    The strategy to get a majority of the people in the majority of states to vote for a mere advisory body necessitated avoidance of the fact that the country was being put to a whole lot of trouble and expense for a piddling outcome.

    The Productivity Commission Report on Close The Gap condemned failed government action. In response, Minister Linda Burney said another layer of bureaucracy in the form of the

    advisory body was needed. If her government ignores the Productivity Commission, what hope is there of an advisory body making a difference?

    The Yes campaign has avoided discussing how an advisory body was to do all that they claimed.

    Instead, the Yes campaign uses emotion to win over well-meaning people.

    To admit the proposal was for a mere Voice incapable of returning land, raising a single tax, distributing no services, having no resources and unable to stop a racist law or build a single house for the homeless, meant exposing the weakness of the end product.

    The Yes campaign was never really about empowerment, otherwise they would have opted for designated seats in the Senate where 6 Aboriginals, one from each state, could potentially wield real power.

    In part though, many well-meaning white people are happy to vote ‘Yes for Aboriginals’ without looking at the detail.

    Australian actor Ruby Rose observed: “we are once again spending a ridiculous amount of money to hold a vote where a majority is voting on a minority’s rights. This is worse than when we held the referendum to allow gay people to get married. Sure, having straight people vote on who you love is brutal, but somehow, it’s 2023 and we are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to see what white people think about what the Indigenous folk need. No ma’am. That’s messed up”.

    Where does the flailing Yes campaign go from here? With lots of money and staff, the strategy is to go even harder than before.

    So far, the one-sided media saturation has not worked.

    Polls showing a consistent decline in support.

    Doubling up with the media saturation risks alienating supporters sick to death of hearing about the Voice.

    This issue should have been dealt with by parliament.


    Michael Mansell in the the Courier Mail

  13. Christine says:

    Jacinta Price gave a speech which would see her abused. Is Conroy satisfied?

    The embarrassment is all Albanese’s and his deluded followers’; they should be doing the reflecting, after claiming the referendum would unite Australians.

  14. NFA says:

    I think Michael Mansell may have a better grasp of the constitution and law than the supposed attorney general “shadow”!

  15. Entropy says:

    Shorter Mansell: There is no point having a referendum when we could just do everything we want to do with the voice through a simple majority in parliament passing legislation.

    Which is of course exactly what will happen anyway when the Voice is sent deep into the forgettery.

  16. Old School Conservative says:

    Re Senator Price’s courage, ability, and potential be PM, Michael de Percy writing in The Spectator says:

    This week, Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price demonstrated her credentials as a potential Australian Prime Minister. She is a member of the Country Liberal Party, so there is no reason she cannot lead the senior party of the federal Liberal-National Coalition, nor is there any real impediment, other than convention, to a Prime Minister also being a Senator. To be sure, it would be awkward to lead a government from across the hall, but there is no actual legal impediment. And given Senator Price’s courage, she certainly has the fortitude to make it work. And she would be a political leader because of sheer competence rather than any deference to intersectionality. Which leads me to my ‘sliding doors’ moment – what would I do if I were as brave as Senator Price?

    He’s spot on. Imagine defying convention!

  17. Entropy says:

    No senators should be any kind of minister, or even be able to submit legislation for consideration, or the senate self initiate committees. They should be a house of review only, where members sit on set committees looking at Bills passed by the HoR, and keeping government departments in line on expenditures. Oh, and no getting paid extra to be on a committee.

  18. Old Lefty says:

    Here’s the ABC foaming at the mouth about a ‘far right podcaster’ appearing at a meeting chaired by Warren Mundine:

    Hypocrisy on steroids from that shrieking sectarian propaganda organ of the Rhiannon Stalinist wing of the Greens. Or is Rhiannon’s unstinting, diehard support for the Soviet Union, right to the very end, somehow not ‘extreme’?

  19. jupes says:

    Which is of course exactly what will happen anyway when the Voice is sent deep into the forgettery.

    You bet your arse it will. It will be the WA heritage laws on steroids once these vindictive bastards get scorned at the ballot box.

  20. Tel says:

    Shorter Mansell: There is no point having a referendum when we could just do everything we want to do with the voice through a simple majority in parliament passing legislation.

    Logically there is something else they want which has not been openly mentioned to the public. For example: treaty powers or veto powers could only be achieved by creating some additional constitutional entity.

    When you hear a story that doesn’t make much sense … often that s because you haven’t heard the whole story.

  21. Tel says:

    Price would have to step down from the senate and stand for the HoR as a liberal party leader. And why would she want to join that lot, let alone lead them?

    There’s no rule that prevents the Prime Minister being a Senator … although there’s no precedent for it either. The Constitution of Australia does not even define what exactly a Prime Minister does, although arguably there’s tradition from Westminster to fall back on.

  22. C.L. says:

    There’s no rule that prevents the Prime Minister being a Senator … although there’s no precedent for it either.

    You’re forgetting John Gorton, Tel.

    However, there is a convention that the Prime Minister be a member of – and be answerable to – the lower house. That’s why Gorton – as PM – resigned from the senate and successfully contested Harold Holt’s seat.

    I think this convention is bullshit in the modern Australian context. Our senate is not a house of lords and there is no reason a senatorial PM wouldn’t be accountable to ‘the people.’

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