How Marcia Langton Lost Her Groove

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.

33 thoughts on “How Marcia Langton Lost Her Groove

  • Botswana O'Hooligan says:

    When you think about it deeply enough these people are the racists for they want to gain ascendency over the rest of we Australians via the “voice.”

  • rosross says:

    Thanks Roger for an excellent article replete with rational credibility which seems to be notably absent with Langton, Pearson et al. Sadly Pearson has not worn well over the years and apart from a brief dabbling in reason has been irrational for much of his career as a professional ‘Aborigilite.’

  • DougD says:

    Pearson’s attack on Price reminded me of the shock the First Fleet officer Watkin Tench experienced when he saw that “the women are in all respects treated with savage barbarity”. Perhaps it’s not Price “punching down on other blacks”, but instead, Pearson being unable to break free from the grip that misogynistic Aboriginal culture has on him.

  • NarelleG says:

    Great work Roger.
    Thank you – will be spreading the word.
    People have to know before they vote.

  • Katzenjammer says:

    If the government is not funding any yes and no campaigns, why doesn’t that apply to government funded agencies like the ABC.

    • NarelleG says:

      @Katzenjammer –

      [If the government is not funding any yes and no campaigns, why doesn’t that apply to government funded agencies like the ABC]

      albo doesn’t need to fund the ‘yes’ when he has the abc and sbs doing it for him

  • Blair says:

    “‘Dark Emu is a profound challenge to conventional thinking about Aboriginal life on this continent. He [Bruce Pascoe] details the Aboriginal economy and analyses the historical data showing that our societies were not simple hunter-gatherer economies but sophisticated, with farming and irrigation practices. This is the most important book on Australia and should be read by every Australian.’
    Professor Marcia Langton

    • Stephen Ireland says:

      With you Blair. However over the past three decades Langton has also articulated opposing views on virtually every issue in the Aboriginal affairs sphere; from Mabo, the Intervention, as a proponent both for and against the hunter-gatherer philosophies which led to Pascoe’s truer history, for and against the cashless card in spite of the evidence relating to alcohol-fuelled violence, the place of violence in dispute resolution. I very much doubt that this list is exhaustive.
      Perhaps this from her Forward to Sutton’s The Politics of Suffering (2011) is evidence of how she sees the world – ‘If the idealogues in the Aboriginal affairs industry – whether progressive romantics or carping neo-conservatives – were to read this book, they would put it down with a heavy heart but a sharp, clear view of the problems that face Aboriginal citizens of the inland gulags and outback ghettos of remote Australia’.
      Promoting conflict based on forms of identity seem to have been her modus operandi since at least 1991.
      Sutton’s Politics of Suffering is highly recommended, by me at least.

  • 27hugo27 says:

    Kjam, I have seen trams totally covered in voice propaganda, buses and cars too. I wonder who i funding this.?The ABC should be (finally) decommissioned for their wall to wall pro voice propaganda, at taxpayers expense. So sick am I of ABC classical blow in Russell Torrance shoving his indigenous leg humping down our throats, and rhe ridiculous amount of content given to them when there are many other stations pushing indigenous material.

  • 27hugo27 says:

    Can someone give me the website or email to purchase the bumper stickers from lb Hackett please?

  • Michael says:

    The Constitutionally enshrined voice is about creating an indigenous representative body and a supporting bureaucracy that would be a de facto government for a quasi-independent indigenous nation that would have a treaty-governed relationship with the Commonwealth of Australia.

  • Steve Moore says:

    I tend to agree with Professor Langton that there‘s no such thing as race. Though without race, how can the Professor decry racism?

    • Citizen Kane says:

      Indeed. And why point to the ‘Celtic’ genes that form part of Jacinta Price’s heritage. The replacement of the word ‘race’ with the word ‘people’ and then using the new word to essentially draw the same groupings and divisions is classic leftist – postmodernist relativism. Alter the language to try to alter reality.

    • pmprociv says:

      Precisely. And what’s the point of a Voice for a racial group that can’t possibly exist? We’re venturing into Wonderland here . . .

    • Peejay says:

      Some 50 or more years ago I was reading a book on anthropology. It categorised Homo sapiens into five groups. I can only remember four

      CAUCASOIDS are those people originating from the Caucasus Mountains are a natural barrier at the junction of Asia and Europe. This race includes obviously white people but also those east of the Black Sea such as the Turks, the Semitic tribes and included Indian sub continent and thereabouts.
      Another race was the MONGOLOIDS from Asia such as the Chinese, Mongols, Japanese, Malays who have distict morphologies such as eye shape, hair type and skin colour etc.

      Another race I remember reading about was the AUSTRALOIDS or the aboriginals of Australia. It is because of their distinctly different morphology that they were given their own racial name.

      NEGROIDS the black people of mid to southern Africa. The northen people known as the Moors IIRC belonged to the CAUSASOID race as their morphology was caucasian but with dark skin.

      There would have been a grouping for the natives of North and South America because they are morphologically different from any other peoples as afar as I know.

      SO, this idea that there are no races is quite wrong.

      The term ‘race’ is the most misused word in the English language. Most of the issues that frustrate people on a spur of the moment altercation with somebody is due to CUlTURE not Race. What people wear as their dress and/or on their heads; what they eat; their mannerisms; the way they talk in their native tongue; their religions; food etc etc.

      If anyone says there are no races then there can be no racism. Marcia Langton please note. Why are you and the other urban elite ‘aboriginals’ always pointing the finger at non aboriginals as being racist. You really are a very confused woman. Your mutterings ebb and flow like the tide and change at a whim.

      Please please please Marcia get someone in the PR and medical industry to enable your sour face to be able to smile without cracking into a thouand pieces.

  • Citizen Kane says:

    Perhaps the greatest contribution by the son of a pear was his assertion that David Littleproud must be ‘he of little pride’. Genius from someone with the name Pearson.

  • Peter Marriott says:

    Thanks Roger ; well put together piece. Noel Pearson is well and truly overrated in my view as well, on practically everything…… and he can also handle the truth loosely and get very, very, nasty…..often from what I gather.
    This rotten, divisive, meaningless referendum, if it ever gets to a vote, will get a very definite NO from me. It seems likely that it wouldn’t even be allowed to rise beyond a Napoleonic style plebiscite, to the true heights of a well credentialled referendum…..with all the facts and points from both sides put forward. To do so would reduce the YES vote considerably I’d say.

  • Doubting Thomas says:

    My latest rejected comment on Janet Albrechtsen’s recent demolition of the anti-Price bullies:
    “Brava. If Pearson and his allies behave this way when others, black and white, disagree with them, we can only expect that they will behave even more outrageously when they have a constitutional platform.”
    I think The Australian is being quite fair in publishing views on both sides of the argument, but their official editorial view seems to be firmly in favour of “the Voice”.

    • lbloveday says:

      You, or a person/people using the same moniker had plenty of comments on JA’s article today accepted, even a Featured Comment

      It’s 2 weeks since The Australian rejected a comment of mine, viz 2 weeks since I vowed never again to proffer a comment.

  • john.singer says:

    If the co-chair of the Aboriginal Voice cannot give us a clear coherent picture of what the Voice would look like. act like and perform like, then who can? Ms Langton has been on various committees designing this “entity” and I assume it has not been pro bono – so why has all this consultation produced so little other than condemnation of their contrarians. Perhaps they are not Contrarians.


    Quoting 27hugo27 “The ABC should be (finally) decommissioned for their wall to wall pro voice propaganda, at taxpayers expense”.
    Gotta wonder. The government has privatised (sold off) just about everything publicly owned including Qantas, the once public utilities of power and water, the Post Office, the Commonwealth Bank and other assets the great Aussie public once owned in common. Yet somehow the lavishly and publicly funded ABC has sacred site status and can’t be decommisioned, divested and sold off by the government to the highest private bidder. If some don’t think the sobriquet ‘sacred site’ applies to the ABC then take note of the relentless encroachment of indigenous place names and indigenous music seeping into that public broadcaster’s repertoire.

  • rosross says:

    Some ten generations on from 1788 with high exposure to Europeans over that time, much intermarrying and intermixing and high levels of welfare it is almost ridiculous to talk about a tribal group as some sort of retained entity. Jacinta Price is 50% Warlpiri and while her mother, Bess, claims to be 100% I have read somewhere that even she once admitted to some distant Anglo ancestor.

    Even if Warlpiri were a people, which they are not, the only future they can have is in the modern world and that means as Australians. By all means value ancestry but it is not a foundation for functionality as we can see in the Warlpiri community where even Senator Price had her grandmother violently attacked.

    Warlpiri are connected through language but within that there are deep familial and tribal divisions. The only thing which brings them together is being Australian with English as a common language.

    Bess Price escaped this backward world because she married Dave Price, who was NOT Aboriginal. Jacinta Price escaped this backward world because her parents did not live a tribal Aboriginal life, but were part of the general community where children were educated. Senator Price has achieved what she has achieved because she is assimilated into the modern world and not because half of her ancestry is Aboriginal. In essence, her Anglo-European half saved her from a life of misery and ensured she could escape the tribal ties which bind people to dysfunction.

  • Farnswort says:

    Marcia Langton often comes across as a deeply unpleasant individual as well as logically challenged.

  • Lawriewal says:

    “Or is it that she is invalidated as a voice worth hearing by those Celtic genes?”

    My genes are English Scot and Irish.
    Care to tell me yours professor Langton?
    Also I am indigenous to Australia (5 generations) but NOT Aboriginal

    So am I invalidated too?

  • Ian MacDougall says:

    Always was, always will be, Tasmanian land.
    The Tasmanians were the first in, and the whole continent was Tasmanian from sea to sea. Then the Pleistocene ice melted and cut Tasmania off from the mainland. Murrayan Aborigines and Carpentarians, ethnically distinct from Tasmanians moved in and took over in a most non-tranquil way. This can be seen by studying Aboriginal war spears; barbed so as to enter the body and be resistant to removal forward or back, and so had to be hacked out in a most destructive, problematic and painful manner using stone knives, nothing much in the way of antiseptics and definitely no anaesthetics, except maybe a bang on the patient’s head from a nulla nulla..

  • jbhackett says:

    Joanna Hackett
    Jacinta Price is a much-respected Australian. Every time the media or the likes of Pearson and Langton attack her, she responds with dignity, intelligence and reason, thereby increasing her popularity. Her opponents, on the other hand, are seen to be increasingly foolish, increasingly irrational and undeserving of support.
    Quadrant readers interested in my bumper stickers will be reassured that they continue to be in great demand. Contact me on jbhackett@bigpond to join the fight for a No vote.

  • wstarck says:

    The pre-European indigenous peoples of Australia have no words, Dreamtime stories, art, or artifacts indicative of any widespread practice of agriculture. There is no archaeological evidence of such activity, and no evidence of domesticated strains of any plants or animals. The fact that they spoke over 200 different languages with each restricted to a relatively small region attests to a well-established ongoing separation of population into small tribal units that is entirely consistent with a hunter gathering way of life and inconsistent with any widespread practice of agriculture. There is also a complete absence of any clear historical account by non-indigenous explorers, settlers, missionaries, government agents, or anthropologists of any such practices.

    The idea of widespread Aboriginal agriculture, large scale village settlements, and self-governance on a nation level is entirely based on the claims of Bruce Pascoe, a self-proclaimed Aboriginal whose family history shows no evidence Aboriginal descent and whose various claims of tribal affiliation have been either refuted or remain unconfirmed by the groups involved. Any such doubt could, of course, be easily and confidently resolved by DNA analysis. That this has not been done or even suggested by Pascoe himself is indicative of the total rejection of reason and evidence in this entire issue.

    Worse yet, has been the unbelievably naive and uncritical adoption of Pascoe’s book, Dark Emu, as a textbook in the educational system, newsworthy attention by the mainstream media, and the even more astounding absence of any critical dissent from Academia until anthropologist Peter Sutton and archaeologist Keryn Walshe’s scholarly rebuttal after some seven years of silence, Farmers or Hunter-Gatherers? The Dark Emu Debate.

    That virtually the entire academic community has become so indoctrinated and/or cowed as to quietly accept such patent nonsense is a worrying indication of the incapacity of Western Culture to be able to effectively deal with the looming clouds of social, demographic, political, economic, environmental, and resource challenges we will soon have to confront.

  • Peejay says:

    to wstarck

    I agree with what you say. We are really up against it with the decades long infusion of Woke idealogy into every facet of western countries like Australian. They are very powerful and keen to keep their dark secret (their New Age communist ideology) out of the public domain.They have the left leaning public broadcasters at their beck and call and what do we have in our armoury?
    The acceptance of Dark Emu as an educational resource by Federal and many state educational authorities is just a tiny part of the Left’s long march to destroy our Christian based western values. They have made huge progress. You only have to follow what depraved trash they put on TV and people lap it up. Voyeurism is now acceptable for all ages because the shows are cunningly crafted to appeal to people’s lowest common denominators- pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth.

    The greatest revelation to me about Pascoe’s rose colored view of aboriginal agricultural practices etc etc was Peter O’Brien’s wonderful “Bitter Harvest” It’s much more telling than Sutton and Marsche’s book because it debunks Dark Emu’s drivel sentence by sentence, page by page and exposing it as largely fraudulent.

    What would you fiirst think when looking at a book that has well over 200 references (the exact numbers are given in Bitter Harvest)? Wow, this bloke has done a lot of research. Must read this end to end.

    Well you’d be very upset when you find out that only some 70 of the large number Uncle Bruce has given us, is actually referred to in his opus magnum. The whole book is one of deception.

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