Aboriginal politics

The Australian reports:

LARISSA Behrendt was appointed to head the Gillard government’s review of indigenous higher education on the same day it was revealed she used her Twitter account to describe watching bestiality on television as “less offensive” than Aboriginal leader Bess Price.

The high-profile indigenous lawyer was yesterday forced into a humiliating apology to Ms Price, an Aboriginal woman who supports the federal intervention in Northern Territory communities, after indigenous leaders expressed outrage at the comment.

After watching Ms Price appear on the ABC’s Q&A program on Monday night, Professor Behrendt tweeted: “I watched a show where a guy had sex with a horse and I’m sure it was less offensive than Bess Price.”

Bess Price’s crime was to have supported the Howard Government’s intervention.

Respected indigenous academic Marcia Langton writes in The Australian today that she has “never witnessed such extreme disrespect shown by a younger Aboriginal woman for an older Aboriginal woman in my life, except where the perpetrator was severely intoxicated on drugs or alcohol”. She says Professor Behrendt’s “foul” tweet “is an exemplar of the wide cultural, moral and increasingly political rift between urban, left-wing, activist Aboriginal women and the bush women, who witness the horrors of life in their communities, much of which is arrogantly denied by the former”.

Sums it up perfectly I’d say.

The opposition yesterday called on the Gillard government to stand down Professor Behrendt, saying her appointment to the new role was offensive. Indigenous leader and former ALP president Warren Mundine said the tweet was one of the most offensive comments he had seen made about an Aboriginal woman. “I think some people need to grow up,” he said. “What she said was just dreadful. It was one of the worst comments I’ve ever heard. It’s very juvenile. Some of this debate has turned into schoolyard arguments rather than actually giving the facts and dealing with reality of life in these communities.

“I’ve heard Bess speak before and I think she speaks very powerfully about what it’s like to live in these places.”

This could damage the Gillard Government if they persist with her appointment.

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