Senator Nampijinpa Price talks to Rowan Dean, James Morrow and Liz Storer.
21 January 2024, 10:10AM AEDT
Subjects: Australia Day, Woolworths Boycott, NIAA, WA Cultural Heritage Laws
Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, Happy New Year! Happy Australia Day! We've got our flag here, you’re in the right place there. How are you Jacinta and how will you be celebrating Australia Day? Congratulations on the great success of The Voice last year. That was terrific. That was common sense. You were a hero. I don't need to tell you that. How are you celebrating Australia Day Jacinta?
Senator Nampijinpa Price
First of all, happy 2024 I feel it's going to be a great year ahead! Look, I will be on the road. I won't be amongst crowds of people, I will be well in the lead up to Australia Day I will be, but on the day itself, I will very likely be on the road between Broken Hill and Coober Pedy with my best mate, my husband, by my side. And we've just been, you know, driving around the country and really taking in what it is we have here in this beautiful part of the world that is Australia. And I think that we are so lucky, we are spoiled in this country. But I'll be appreciating what it is we have from the Outback, from the road, which is what I love to do - get out on that road.
Now Jacinta when you get back to work, I'll just tell you one of the things that I'm hoping you will be looking at is auditing all this expenditure on Indigenous Affairs. Obviously, some of it is necessary, but I was sent 270 pages of grants totalling hundreds of millions of dollars of - going to all sorts of extraordinary things. There's a long, long list, we'll put them up there on the screen briefly but it's all sorts of, apart from small amounts here and there, they are very large amounts it goes on and on and on. Jacinta will you'll be able to, as Senator, tackle this expenditure and should there be an audit?
Senator Nampijinpa Price
Look absolutely there should be an audit, and that's something that should occur immediately. Given the cost-of-living crisis we're faced with, given the fact that obviously the closing the gap targets are never actually really closing and they're not closing probably deliberately because there's an entire industry that relies on that gap existing. So going forward, we'll continue to be calling for an audit. And if this government refuses to agree that this is actually a good idea and initiate that, then that's what we'll be doing. That’ll be what we'll be doing when we work hard to take to take government at the next federal election. These are the these are the measures that I will be taking as Shadow Minister for Indigenous, well if I ever land the role of Minister for Indigenous Australians then that needs absolutely to be sorted out.
Well, I'm looking at some of these grants here and you know, don't want to say that any of them is not legitimate or good spending of money but I'm looking at things on everything from you know, payments for ‘Bushtucker Morning Teas’ to a companion animal program to a crocodile hatchery to social emotional well-being programs, cultural experiences, all sorts of things here. Now, millions of dollars just on the couple of pages that I'm looking at here. What concerns me is not so much the investment in these communities, but the fact that there seems to be so little to show in terms of whether any of this is actually going to closing the gap. What is the connection between some of these and is this what really needs to be looked at is whether or not there's enough sort of, when they're making decisions running a rule over these applications say, this is actually going to really, genuinely do something to improve school outcomes, healthcare outcomes, or whether, you know, it's more “the vibe of the thing” to borrow from a friend’s phrase.
Senator Nampijinpa Price
Yeah, look, absolutely. I think there's lots of different categories that pop up all the time. We’ll look at ways that you know, taxpayer funds can be, you know, funnelled into different directions and individuals can certainly be at advantage of those funds, but you're right. We need to be focusing on the issues that are most important which are you know, education, which is employment, which is health. If those measures aren't being met, then I'm sorry, you know, if there's some sort of program that's centred around something ambiguous, around culture - those sorts of things, I think we really have to look at what outcomes it's actually providing. And whether it's putting it against those measures, education, health, employment, whether it's making any impact in those areas, whatsoever, that are actually far more important. You know, I get people come to me regularly who are concerned about programs, you know, particularly there's some around Indigenous language revival, where the languages are being revived appropriately, what's the purpose once they are revived? But there's, there's lots of areas that are pretty ambiguous that need to be looked at with a fine-tooth comb. And under the microscope, really.
Liz, off you go!
Jacinta you backed Dutton’s call for a boycott of Woolies as they once again, begin their war on Australia Day and therefore our national pride. We know this is all about just manipulating the social conscience, the public and how they feel about the day. Have you got any pushback for that? Because Woolworths would have us believe they themselves haven't really received any pushback. What's your feel been on the ground? Do you think people willing to take that move? Do you think we'll see it move the needle at all?
Senator Nampijinpa Price
Yeah, look, I mean, I'm here at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, and I've been speaking to people all over the place. And there's a lot of very proud Australians that are donning their Australian flag, everywhere I go, of all different backgrounds, and they're really displeased with the way in which Woolworths has conducted itself. I mean, most people that I've spoken to have said yeah, I you know, I used to be a loyal shopper at Woolworths. I'll no longer go there, because of this continued sort of behaviour, disregarding that the majority of Australians don't want this sort of division going on, but that's generally the feeling that I'm getting on the ground and, you know, stopping off in country towns. You know, I've been across the Barclay over to the Sunshine Coast, throughout Queensland and here in New South Wales, and the feeling on the ground is that Australians are just over it. You know, they're more worried about the cost of living. They don't want to have to deal with the corporates, trying to tell them how to suck eggs, tell them how they should behave or think or feel, or, you know, feel about the country that they love. I mean, this is home. They're sick of being shamed to be proud Australians.
Well Jacinta, Senator Price, last year, you certainly spoke on behalf of so many Australians. You told us, you showed us that common sense will win. We are in a common-sense revolution, I believe, and you your common sense will be needed more than ever, in the next 15 months, I guess until we see you back in parliament in government, which is where you belong, running the show. Looking forward to it very much, Senator Jacinta Price Thanks so much for talking to us today. And have a wonderful Australia Day.
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