Alice Springs Councilor Jacinta Nampijinpa Price has made headlines in mainstream media for voicing her strong opposition to calls for changing the date of Australia day. Despite taking part in the S.A.D. campaign, Ms Price has told NITV News she believes holding the debate is a positive step.
“A good thing that has come with the Change the Date campaign is the fact that there is a discussion being had. It’s an opportunity for many people with many different opinions to come forward and express those opinions,” she said.
However, Ms Price lamented that the “emotional” nature of the debate has provoked angry responses to her views.
“The downside of some of that is someone like me expressing my opinions has caused quite a bit of backlash; quite nasty things have been said. Luckily for me, it takes a lot to offend me. But it has also highlighted the fact that we need to be able to have these sort of debates, and have them respectfully without attacking one another at the same time,” she explained.
When asked about her stance on Australia’s national holiday being celebrated on the day that commemorates the landing of the First Fleet and the start of colonisation, Ms Price reiterated she is a “true believer that we should remain having Australia Day on the 26 of January because it’s a very significant date in our country’s history”.
“We don’t know enough of our history, we don’t know enough about the atrocities that took place, and this date signifies to some that this was the beginning of all of that. So, the atrocities didn’t necessarily take place on this particular day, but definitely followed afterwards.
“By ignoring this date, we’re ignoring the significance of this particular date and we do need to learn about our country’s history in its entirety — all that is really horrible about our history, but all that’s really good about our history, as well,” she said.
Ms Price believes that Australia Day should be a day for all Australians to come together, regardless of their ethnic or cultural background.
“I think that if us blackfellas, and whitefellas, and us fellas that are mixed-up, quiet down for a minute and look around us, we’d recognize that we are a multicultural society where people have come from all corners of the world to make this country their home because of what we have to offer.”
“People aren’t celebrating the fact that Aboriginal people have suffered. Nowhere do I believe that an Australian is celebrating that fact. They are celebrating the fact that we are an incredibly wonderful nation. We are a nation where we have the oldest living culture, and we also have Western culture, living harmoniously,” Ms Price said.
When asked if her position ignores the violence that followed colonisation, Ms Price argued that celebrating Australia Day on January 26 doesn’t take away from the country’s forceful settlement.
“I don’t think it ignores the brutality, I think we definitely have to recognize that. I think what is being ignored are the loving relationships between black and white. Again, I think it’s important to understand it all, but to celebrate the fact that my mum’s Walpiri and my dad’s a white man and I’m a product of reconciliation in this country.
“It doesn’t mean that I’m ignoring the fact that there was brutality. I’m just celebrating love, and love is love, I’m lead to believe. And I think love should conquer and I believe there’s a lot of it throughout this nation.
“I believe there’s a lot of goodwill toward Aboriginal people, from not only the white community, but also the multicultural community, and that is what we should be taking advantage of, and creating an understanding, and hearing the many different voices that are involved. I’ve never said that we should ignore brutality at all, but understand all of it.