A discussion this morning on Today has drawn headlines after Pauline Hanson and Steve Price disagreed on a ban closing Uluru to climbers.
Uluru is considered sacred by the Traditional Owners, the Anangu people, and the ban was announced by the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Board in 2017.
But Pauline Hanson likened the move to closing down Bondi Beach.
“The fact is, it’s money-making. It’s giving jobs to the Indigenous community, you’ve got over 4-500,000 tourists a year that want to go there and climb the rock,” she said.
“It’s no different to saying we’re going to close down Bondi Beach because there are some people there that have drowned. How ridiculous is that! This is an iconic site for all Australians.”
Steve Price called for controlled tourism.
“If you have an asset like that, I don’t understand why you can’t manage the climbing of it?Maybe you have to limit the number, maybe you have to got to make it such a special occasion for someone to do it that it is only two or three at a time. I don’t know. I have just come back
from WA where we were diving with those whale sharks where they limit it to ten people at a time. These things can be managed. I think it would be more sensible to do it that way,” he said.
But while host Deb Knight asked if Indigenous views should be respected, on social media the Nine show was criticised for failing to include such a perspective.
Not even Today‘s own Brooke Boney, who fronted the very next segment on James Bond & showbiz, was included in the discussion…..
Boney, who is a proud Gamilaroi woman, co-hosted a subsequent discussion on Today Extra with panelists Shelly Horton and John Mangos. Although the response was some 3 hours later, at least she was able to offer a counter-opinion.
“This is about Indigenous people having some sort of say over what happens on their land and their sacred sites,” she said.
“The thing about the rock is that it’s so sacred to them that every time someone gets injured or hurt or has to be airlifted out it hurts them and they say that their ancestors mourn the loss of those people. So they’re not doing it to be nasty or be protective of themselves, they’re doing it to protect others.”
After a Sunrise segment on Indigenous adoption was widely criticised for its lack of Indigenous perspective, it is concerning breakfast TV has adopted the same approach today.
Both Sunrise in 2018, and Nine this morning included discussions within a wider “hot topics” style chat, where guests are booked ahead of time. But producers should really be alert to the risks of not including an Indigenous perspective, especially given they were aware Hanson was opposed to the Uluru proposal.
It also isn’t the first time complex discussions are squeezed into bite-size debates. It happens every day in the genre.
Studio 10 also attracted headlines in January when Kerri-Anne Kennerley suggested city-based ‘Invasion Day’ protestors were ignoring social problems in rural areas. She was challenged on the spot by Yumi Stynes, before (much) later conceding her original statements were “clunky.”
Both Sunrise and Studio 10 followed up their segments the next day with Indigenous representatives, which suggests things could have been better-handled with perspective from the get go or in longer-form.
Ironically, Brooke Boney’s response was also within a brief panel-style discussion, meaning such things are possible….
A Nine spokesperson told TV Tonight, “The segment was a news-chat canvassing a range of subjects that have been in the news. It was pertinent that Senator Hanson spoke because she is presenting a letter to Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt on this issue. Deb offered the counter view that it is culturally insensitive, and also Brooke Boney followed up later and weighed into the issue on Today Extra.
“We have NT Senator Malarndirri McCarthy on tomorrow to respond to Hanson.”