Last week, Patricia Karvelas popped Noel Pearson into Radio National’s pulpit and granted him the best part of twenty largely uninterrupted minutes to slag Jacinta Nampijinpa Price for opposing the Voice. It was quite the rant and, given the extent to which Pearson drained his spleen, one might have thought the compere had more than met her ABC quota for venomous character assassination in support of the Left’s cause du jour.
That, however, would underestimate Ms Karvelas’ devotion to partisan agitprop, for this morning (Dec 5) the Voice was back on the agenda, with Marcia Langton and Professor Tom Calma, joint authors of the Indigenous Voice Co-Design Project (IVCP), handed the microphone to explain what the Voice is all about. Well, attempt to explain, as there is almost nothing concrete one can take away from their ramblings. How the Voice would work is all laid out in the IVCP’s first 20 pages, listeners were informed, but first the referendum needs to get up so relevant parties can decide how the Voice would work. Yes, really.
Of the pair, Calma was calmer, while Langton was, well, Langton, especially when asked for her thoughts on Senator Price’s opposition to the Voice. Below is an annotated transcript of Langton’s stream-of-consciousness response to the Price question, her words in italics.
It’s unfortunate that the Nationals have injected misinformation and vitriol into the debate so early on.
Ah, ‘misinformation’ makes an early appearance. Where would the Left be without a term that need only be uttered to avoid debating any argument they don’t like and can’t counter? As for vitriol, perhaps she was thinking of cobber Pearson’s earlier turn with Karvelas, which saw Price attacked for “punching down on other blacks”, plus the charge that she has been duped into the “tragic redneck celebrity vortex”.
We’ve been through this many times over, these kinds of campaigns
What is she on about? What ‘kind of campaigns’? Listeners had to wait for mention of an ex-AFL grumble-bunny to get an inkling. Adam Goodes, readers might recall, began his 2014 reign as Australian of the Year by lamenting his fellow countrymen’s racism, a gripe which progressed to hurling an imaginary spear at the Carlton cheer squad the following year. Thereafter Goodes was booed, which he and his admirers prefer to believe was prompted by skin colour rather than conduct.
I’m seeing this now as a bit like the Adam Goodes saga, which is terribly unfortunate
The tragedy is, of course that, well, take for instance that Jacinta says she is ‘Celtic-Walpiri — well the Walpiri people see themselves as a people because they speak the Walpiri language and they have Walpiri traditions. They don’t see themselves as a race.
Where are you going with this, Marcia? Are you really saying Price isn’t versed in Walpiri language and traditions? We never get an answer because, like a gramophone needle skipping tracks, she jumps abruptly into a different groove.
The Walpiri people that I have spoken to, most of the leaders, believe the Voice is a very necessary part of the Australian political system and they would welcome it very much because they want their people to be represented.
Are the Walpiri not already represented by one of their own, Jacinta Price? Or is it that she is invalidated as a voice worth hearing by those Celtic genes? Again, no explanation before the mental stylus scrapes across a few more random tracks.
And you’d think with all the terrible things that have happened in the Walpiri world…
Like the medical station being closed, for instance, and the forced evacuation of nurses subjected to repeated break-ins, thefts and harassment and unable to leave their Yuendumu compound for fear of “being taken down by stray dogs”? But no, those aren’t the terrible things Langton has in mind.
…such as now the coronial inquiry into the death at the hands of the police in the Northern Territory of Kumanjayi Walker, a young Walpiri man, and you know the findings of that coronial inquiry about the fate of even more young Walpiri people.
Apparently clairvoyance is another of Langton’s gifts. There are no “findings” because the NT Coroner is not scheduled to end her inquiry until well into 2023.
We have to take these matters seriously. This is too important to play nasty electoral politics about.
Again, in regard to ‘nasty politics’, a quiet word with Noel Pearson wouldn’t go astray. But enough of him, as Langton is about to drag the stylus into a very bizarre groove indeed.
If in the end these divisive politics about race, which I have to say as a member of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Melbourne, does not exist.
We’re one species. There are no races.
It would be terribly unfortunate for all Australians if the debate sinks into a nasty, eugenicist, 19th century-style of debate about the superior race versus the inferior race.
The reference to the Parkville Asylum’s medical school might lead some to assume Dr Langton is a medico. She’s not, rather the Foundation Chair of Australian Indigenous Studies at the university. Her medical credentials, for what they are worth, are conferred by her post as Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, which resides under the medical school’s umbrella.
But let us not dwell on credentials and wonder instead where and why that fear of “nasty, eugenicist, 19th century-style debate” arose. Remember, the above tangle of random thoughts was sparked by Karvelas’ simple question: Do you think Price and the Nationals putting their weight behind [the No case] are “challenging for the Yes vote”?
And somehow, perhaps with a nod to magical thinking and secret academic business, we end up with Adam Goodes, a misrepresented coronial inquiry, Voice opponents’ anticipated promotion of eugenics and, just for good measure, the mislabeling of courteous disagreement as ‘vitriol’.
All Kavelas could manage by way of a sign-off was a non-commital “Mmmm’.
Can’t blame her for being left speechless.