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Harassment of Jacinta Price is a of workplace safety concern says David Littleproud

David Littleproud discusses the harassment Jacinta Nampijinpa Price faced after her phone number was exposed on Twitter. He assures support and protection for her and emphasises maintaining respectful discourse in the Indigenous recognition debate.

By news@gippsland - 14th September 2023 - Back to News

Afternoon Briefing host Greg Jennett said, "Nationals leader, David Littleproud, was in the audience for Jacinta Nampijinpa Price's address, and the questions that she subsequently answered to. He's with us now in the studio as well. Welcome back."

Mr Littleproud contacted Jacinta to ensure her well-being, the offices have maintained close communication, offering support throughout this period, even until the Referendum

Mr Littleproud contacted Jacinta to ensure her well-being, the offices have maintained close communication, offering support throughout this period, even until the Referendum

Mr Jennett asked, "David, there was a revelation there, I suppose, from Jacinta Nampijinpa Price that yesterday, her personal phone number was placed on Twitter or X as it's now called, and she was absolutely bombarded with the most revolting messages and voicemail messages she says. As leader, are you treating that as a workplace safety issue? Is there anything you've done about that?"

Support for Jacinta

Mr Littleproud said, "I reached out to Jacinta immediately to make sure she was okay, and obviously my office has been in close contact with her office to make sure we've got her arms around her, in this period and for the rest of the period up until the Referendum."

"And luckily, her husband Colin is with her, and I think he gives great strength. And the fact also that her parents happened to be in town, I think, gave some comfort to Jacinda. But this is where The Nationals have made sure in the way that we've prosecuted our principal position on this is that we've never called people names.We've never stopped getting angry about this."

"We've set the tone in a respectful way and for that to happen to Jacinta, I think is abhorrent. And I think we've got to call it out and Jacinta will get all the support she needs and she'll continue to get that. The National Party room is rallying behind her in every step of the way. And the appropriate measures are being taken to make sure that she's getting the support and the protection that she needs," he said.

Security for Jacinta

Mr Jennet asked Mr Littleproud, "The personal support that you mentioned there, protection. What does that entail?"

Mr Littlleproud said, "Well, I don't think it's wise for me to comment about what the details of that protection are, but we obviously take the advice of the Australian Federal Police, and have every confidence in their intelligence, in what they're able to gather around what that threat may be."

"But there is, obviously, a heightened concern about Jacinta's safety, and I think it's important as Australians, as political leaders, from the Prime Minister, Peter Dutton and myself, to make sure that we set the right tone for the balance of this Referendum. And that's what I intend to do. We've done that for nearly eight months now since we came out, and we're going to continue to do that as Nationals," he said.

Respectful national leadership

Mr Jennett asked, "And I recognise the need not to poke and pry too much on federal police protection operations, but is it Jacinta alone who is being targeted here?"

Mr Littleproud said, "Well, look, even my office had a number of phone calls this week. It's really ramped up in the abuse that my staff have copped. And it's not on, and obviously my staff are an extension of me and my values and my statements. But my statements have never been disrespectful in this conversation, in this national debate.

I believe The Nationals above any political party have led this better than anybody else in setting the tone and setting the respect. And I just say to every Australian, please, this is a deeply personal decision for you to make. Just make it yourself. You don't need to get angry and to overreach," he said.

Parliamentary conduct

Mr Jennett said, "I hear you say that about the way The Nationals have conducted themselves, and yet at least a couple of your members ask questions. In the Parliament yesterday."

"I believe it was quoting Marcia Langton, and trying to draw out from the government whether her use of the words of racism and sheer stupidity were appropriate or should be condemned. Why was that necessary? Why can not some of those quotes be let go through to the keeper?" he asked.

Setting the tone

Mr Littleproud said, "Because we're setting the tone and I've actually, in fact, on one occasion, disagreed with the tone in which Peter Dutton's used. I actually had the courage and strength of my leadership, as a political leader in this country to make sure that we kept the tone."

"And I think it's important that the Prime Minister, as I just said earlier, the Prime Minister and Peter Dutton and myself, take that role as political leaders in this country very seriously. And that when someone overreaches and says something they shouldn't, that we call that out. We give them the opportunity to rectify it and to make sure that they come with us, in setting that tone for the rest of this debate," he said.

Leadership, reconciliation, future

Right. I know we'll get lots of opportunities beyond the 14th of October to ask about what it is that you are pinning to your leadership authority about reconciliation. But briefly, as you sit here now, what does that look like? What do you mean when you say, you know, your leadership rests on advancing recognition and reconciliation beyond this?

Guidance, acknowledgment, and procedure

Mr Littleproud said, "No, I'm investing my leadership. I think I've been verbalised a little bit there. I'm investing my leadership, as a political leader in this country, to advance the conversation and the policy setting that the Coalition has had for some time. And we do believe in constitutional recognition. And we went down that path and unfortunately it's been conflated with the Voice, which isn't a new model. It's not a new proposal."

"We've had a representative body before. We live with the scars of that in rural and remote Australia. But what we do believe in is if we are to give constitutional recognition, a due process, a proper process that hasn't been afforded to the Australian people. This time we have a Constitutional Convention, where not just one cohort, not just 250 Indigenous Australians get to come together in one place and get to decide the intent."

"Get to decide the question about what that should look like, but Australians, more broadly. The Constitution is owned by every Australian. And we think that that proper process would give us a more unifying moment. And unfortunately, we've got a dividing moment that the Prime Minister created because he's conflated the Voice with recognition," he said.

Exploring future referendum

Mr Jennet asks Mr Littleproud, "For what would be a first term or end of first term s second? Well, I'm using the second word, but another Referendum?"

Pragmatic approach to recognition

Mr Littleproud said, Well, I think you need to work pragmatically through that. And it was disappointing that the Prime Minister only a week ago said that if the Voice didn't get up, he was shutting the door on Constitutional recognition."

"That's not what political leadership should be in this country. I think there's overwhelming support for Constitutional recognition, but it has to be a proper process and one in which we all can walk together as political parties, but leading our nation in bringing together those eminent minds to make sure that we get the intent and the adjustments."

"And whatever timeframe that takes, I've made my pledge as a political leader in this country to use that role to be constructive in the design and the process," he said.

Modern colonial effects

Mr Jennett said, "Quick final one, David Littleproud, just to pick up on a question put to Jacinta Nampijinpa Price today by Josh Butler at the Press Club. Do you believe there are, quote, any negative ongoing Colonialist impacts on Indigenous Australians today?"

Mr Littleproud replies "Yeah, Jacinta spoke from lived experience and lived experience, not just from European settlement, but from her own Indigenous culture."

Generation mistakes and progress

Mr Jennet asked, "So for those who missed it, her answer was no, she doesn't believe there are negative impacts. What about on your own?"

Progress and challenges ahead

Mr Littleproud said, "There are, we cannot deny, that there are generations of the past that have made mistakes towards Indigenous Australians, but I'm proud of the fact that modern Australia for some time has had a generosity of spirit and financial support in making sure where there's disadvantage that we come together and that we rectify that disadvantage and that that there has been significant advancement that we should be proud of where we have closed the gap in many parts of the country."

"Admittedly, we know the postcode where it isn't and we've got to do better there. But there has been a significant investment of that spirit of that contribution, walking together hand in hand that has made us the greatest nation on earth and Jacinta Price gave I think one of the most powerful speeches I've heard personified, that about her lived experience of not just European settlement, a modern European settlement, but also, in essence, of her current day culture from Indigenous Australia," he said.

Mr Jennett said, "And I imagine that'll be disputed by others because the Indigenous community is not as we know, a homogenous whole, that's what lies ahead of the nation over the next four weeks, maybe beyond, David Littleproud, thanks so much for joining us today."

Pictures from The Australian YouTube channel.


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