Apr 18, 2011

Rundle: worse than horse love

There is only one thing worse than be taken as an enemy of News Limited, St Oscar might have written, and that is to be taken pup as their friend.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


There is only one thing worse than be taken as an enemy of News Limited, St Oscar might have written, and that is to be taken up as their friend. Take the case of Bess Price for example. Price is an Alice Springs-based indigenous activist, about whom opinion tends to divide quite markedly. Some see her as a truth teller; others as someone who speaks for communities — such as Yuendumu — that she doesn’t live in.

She was a strong supporter of the Howard government Northern Territory intervention, and is much-feted by the Bennelong Society, the pro-assimilationist lobby group. She speaks several languages, holds a science degree and has worked in a wide variety of fields. Oh, and she’s also worse than having s-x with a horse.

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

22 thoughts on “Rundle: worse than horse love

  1. mattsui

    What’s so bad about horse love……I’ll be deep in the ground before I relinquish my platfrom shoes.

  2. Nadia David

    Best article in ages, Guy. I hope the lot of them read and have a good think about their behaviour. Now I have to go and google ‘Bess Price’ and read that damn tweet!

  3. puddleduck

    FFS, I need a diagram to understand this article – and I don’t mean of the horse thing. I mean the politics – who is on what side, but pretending to be on the other. Would it look like Noodle – I mean Knowledge – Nation.

    I’m amused that Guy is continuing to spread the horse tweet, something I wouldn’t otherewise have heard of. And I’m disappointed that it comes from Professor Behrendt. Is it necessary to resort to such insults to make a point these days, even in 140 character Twitterland? I expect better of professionals who earn their living using words – couldn’t she articulate her criticism any other way? So much for the sisterhood. And I don’t care what the colour. Shame, shame, shame.

  4. Mark Duffett

    I’m with Puddleduck, and those mentioned by same are not my only sources of confusion. Are we also to take it that Langton and Kenny are being ‘condescending’ to Bess Price, but indicating her to be a ‘patsy’, as Rundle does here, isn’t?

    And to throw in (several times) that Price is resident in Alice Springs, without mentioning once that she grew up in Yuendumu, is a trifle…inauthentic. Not to mention the fact that Alice Springs is dotted with town camps that are in many respects indistinguishable from (and populated largely by people from) remote communities.

  5. Greg Angelo

    I have personally spoken to Bess Price and understand her concern for aboriginal welfare as she has direct first-hand experience of death as result of petrol sniffing, drunkenness leading to assault and murder, and of course death by alcoholism. It is quite obvious to any serious serious analysis that the mixture of social welfare dependency, lack of dignity, and access to alcohol is continuing to have an enormous social impact on elements of the aboriginal community. This impact is not necessarily being felt amongst so-called “urban”aborigines”, some of whom have a very small proportion of aboriginal ancestry, and pontificate from their safe suburban domiciles on the civil rights of aboriginal Australians living in dirt and squalor as a consequence of their inability to adapt to mainstream social structures. This includes children being well fed, well clothed, and appropriately educated to be able to take their place in mainstream Australian society should they so desire. Whatever one thinks of the Murdoch press, this issue has brought to the surface the passionate opposition by leftist forces in this country to any form of intervention which may have long-term benefits for some of the oppressed women and children living in fear in as a consequence of violence brutality and alcoholism and even worse, the children not being educated in such a way as to break out of the cycle of welfare dependency, despondency and the lack of personal dignity arising from relative deficiencies in literacy and numeracy as a consequence of not attending school to an appropriate degree.

    Whether one agrees or not with Bess Price’s views she is entitled to express them without vitriolic and condescending “put-downs” from a Harvard educated Doctor of Laws whom one would assume should know better. Consequently one would seriously question Larissa Behrent’s suitability to head up any government position.

    One also needs to question the motivation of activists who are insisting on so-called “civil rights” of welfare recipients to spend their welfare cheques on anything they choose to the detriment of their families in a chronic cycle of violence, malnutrition and alcoholism, the cycle which has been going on for decades without any end in sight. You might not necessarily agree with Bess Price and Noel Pearson but the policies that they advocate seem to make sense if the objective is to a breakout of this vicious welfare dependency and its associated social dysfunctionality.

  6. PeterS

    Thanks, Puddleduck – I was thinking of attempting to draw a diagram myself. I feel better about it now.

  7. Ruprecht

    Ahhh, gotta love knee-jerk righty commenters — still missing the point, even when it is explained in the body of the article.

    In the case of Mr Angelo, I simply add that it is logically inconsistent to support the Murdoch press and then decry those who make “vitriolic and condescending “put-downs” “.

  8. Guy Rundle

    Puddleduck(?) –

    with the Bess Price thing repeated half a dozen times in News Ltd media, i really don’t think that I’m extending its purview by very much.

    As for Greg Angelo, oh you’ve spoken to someone ‘personally’, have you? And they were sincere, were they? Good for you soldier.

  9. plonk oclock

    Greg, you’ve become a latter-day Keith Windschuttle.. What happened to you?

  10. jungarrayi

    Nungarrayi is passionate about the future of the Warlpiri people she belongs to. Right from the beginning she has supported the Intervention. During an earlier TV appearance (Insight) she thanked Mal Brough. She does not deserve to be slurred the way she was. She is as entitled to her opinion as we anti-Interventionists are.
    But that the mention of the fact that Bess is a long time resident of Alice Springs should be regarded as gratuitous is also not helpful to the debate.
    To us Yuendumu residents (I was here three decades ago when Bess left to live in Alice Springs- so there! Mark Duffett, now I’ve mentioned it twice), no matter what our colour scheme, the blurring of the distinction between Yuendumu and Alice Springs whenever Bess is quoted and listened to is rather distressing.
    Despite Yuendumu’s current highly mis-publicised woes, this is not the dysfunctional dreadful place that politicians and media lead people to believe. I have witnessed significant changes in the social fabric of Yuendumu. I’ve witnessed the height of the now much denigrated “self determination” policy, and the height of bilingual education at Yuendumu School, and the height of the since dismantled Yuendumu Housing Association. My children have grown up here, I’m glad they did. I’ve seen nothing good come from the Intervention.
    I’ve been following Larissa Behrendt’s anti-Intervention comments that have given some of us out here much solace. Most of what we cop is the propaganda barrage emanating from Jenny Macklin’s office (“Aboriginal children are putting on weight”) and the occasional intelligent comments that sneak into the media from the likes of Senator Siewert and Larissa Behrendt are manna from heaven.
    To dismiss Larissa on the basis of one poor taste tweet I think is rather un-Australian. We don’t ignore Malcolm Fraser just because he lost his trousers once. Kevin Rudd can continue to be our foreign minister despite his attendance at a strip-club. We’ve forgiven Gareth Evans’ shenanigans, and don’t dwell on Snedden expiring in the saddle (oops now I’ve mentioned horses). We are the land of the fair go after all.
    Fair Go for Bess Price. Fair Go for Larissa Behrendt. Fair Go for the people of Yuendumu.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details