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Monday, April 18, 2011

Professor Larissa Behrendt

Professor Larissa Behrendt

Last Thursday, Professor Larissa Behrendt was given the job to head a review of Aboriginal higher education. It was the same day we learnt about the disgusting remark she made about Bess Price on Twitter, namely "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

Now three dedicated people with some influence have come out in support of Bess Price. Dr Sue Gordon, former NT intervention boss and magistrate was the first Aboriginal person to head a government department in Western Australia; Warren Mundine, former ALP president; and indigenous independent MP Alison Anderson. They all want Julia Gillard to think again.

Warren Mundine

But they refuse. A spokesman for Higher Education Minister Chris Evans said last night the government would not be removing Professor Behrendt because they had confidence in her abilities.

Alison Anderson

Dr Gordon pointed out there was a vast difference between the city-based lawyer and bush Aborigines who are the people in greatest need of education reform. " I was extremely shocked that she has been appointed, it is more than inappropriate, I think the government needs to reconsider this."

Dr Sue Gordon

Independent MP Allison Anderson said the review would be severely compromised if Professor Behrendt was allowed to head it as her reputation with indigenous people was in tatters. "I think it's inappropriate for the government to be giving her a position like this in light of the remarks she's made about Bess Price," she said.

"Warren Mundine said "I don't think she's objective enough to do that job," and added "I have serious doubts that she will come up with a solution."

Barbara Shaw

Bess Price supports the intervention and said that because of it, the children were now being fed and young people now know how to manage their lives. But Barbara Shaw, spokeswoman for the Intervention Rollback Action Group and resident of Mount Nancy town camp near Alice Springs has attacked Ms Price. "It's outrageous that Bess Price can continue to go on national media and spread false information on the intervention while life in our town camps and communities gets harder and harder".

Ms Price's husband Dave, said the couple were fed up with attacks on her character. "She has been overwhelmed by the tsunami of support for her coming from all over Australia. Once again it confirms for us the knowledge that this country is full of decent people of all colours and ethnicities," he said.