Thursday 11 August 2022 12:04 AM Peter FitzSimons Jacinta Price different backgrounds: Sydney's north shore and ... trends now
Peter FitzSimons believes he is an expert on the identity of Indigenous people and what they want for themselves, as he once showed in a series of text messages to Daily Mail Australia.
Following publication of a story about his then latest book, a biography of British explorer James Cook, the columnist took time to object to one word used in a historical context.
'Great piece, thank you,' FitzSimons wrote on Australia Day, 2020. 'But your [sub-editors] need to change the word from "Aborigine" which is no longer used as a noun.'
He then offered an anecdote about an old conversation with fellow former Wallaby Glen Ella - one of three Indigenous brothers to play for the national rugby team.
'Meantime, 25 years ago I asked Gary Ella if he was an Aborigine or an Aboriginal,' FitzSimons wrote. 'He said, "I am not sure, but thank you for caring"!'
Peter FitzSimons believes he is an expert on the identity of Indigenous Australians and what they want for themselves. He once objected to the word 'Aborigine' in a Daily Mail Australia headline. FitzSimons is pictured with television presenter wife Lisa Wilkinson
FitzSimons cares a lot about words and gestures when it comes to Indigenous Australians, unlike his new nemesis, the newly installed senator Jacinta Price (pictured). FitzSimons and Price have been engaged in a war of words of an interview between the pair
FitzSimons cares a great deal about words and gestures when it comes to Aboriginal Australians - more so than Indigenous politician Jacinta Price, his new nemesis.
The pair has little in common beyond a passionate interest in Indigenous matters which they approach from positions informed by their own disparate backgrounds.
FitzSimons was raised at Peats Ridge on the New South Wales Central Coast and when he wasn't boarding in Sydney at Knox College played happily with his siblings in the family's orange orchard.
The 61-year-old attended Sydney University, pens think pieces for Nine newspapers and has been married to television presenter Lisa Wilkinson for 30 years.
Jacinta Yangapi Nampijinpa Price is the daughter of a Warlpiri woman who served in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly and a father with Anglo-Celtic ancestry.
She was born in Darwin, grew up in Alice Springs, had her first child at 17 and has been a victim of domestic violence.
Country Liberal Party senator Jacinta Price and grandmother Tess Napaljarri Ross are pictured after an Indigenous ceremony at Parliament House on July 27
FitzSimons is a multimillionaire author of books on Australian history and political leftie who is chair of the Australian Republican Movement and wants to change Australia Day from January 26.
Price, the newly elected Country Liberal Party senator, is politically conservative and and does not want an Indigenous voice to parliament.
She is more interested in action on real problems within Aboriginal communities than symbolic gestures such as changing Australia Day's date.
FitzSimons has been accused of epitomising white privilege, while Price is credited with having 'lived experience' as a black woman and witnessing Aboriginal disadvantage up close.
Columnist Janet Albrechtsen recently declared Price 'the very finest example of a voice for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians' and said she could imagine her as prime minister.
FitzSimons is a multi-millionaire author of books on Australian history and political leftie who is chair of the Australian Republican Movement and wants to change Australia Day from January 26. He is pictured with wife Lisa Wilkinson
The pair has been engaged in a slanging match after FitzSimons interviewed Price for a 'Five Minutes with Fitz' column in the Sun-Herald which apparently ran for an hour last Thursday.
In that piece published on Sunday in a question-and-answer format FitzSimons told Price he was gobsmacked she did not support changing Australia Day from the date the First Fleet arrived in Sydney in 1788.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wants a body enshrined in the Constitution that would enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to provide advice to the Parliament on policies and projects that impact their lives.
A referendum is needed to change the Constitution. The vote will need support from the majority of Australians in the majority of states to be successful.
The question that could be put to Australians is: 'Do you support an alteration to the constitution that establishes an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice?'
FitzSimons told Price she held positions 'completely at odds with much of what much of the Indigenous community - and Indigenous supporters in wider Australia like my white self.'
Price responded that many Aboriginal people were proud to be Australian and did not view themselves as victims of history.
'My whole goal throughout is to show alternative narratives exist because I think it's become a racial stereotype that Indigenous Australians are somehow homogenous,' she said.
Later, FitzSimons - who described himself as 'about as white as they come' - asked Price if she was 'misusing the platform you have and are actually hurting Indigenous causes'.
Price subsequently alleged in a Facebook post FitzSimons was 'aggressive... condescending and rude' and that he shouted at her during their chat.
In the since-deleted post Price claimed FitzSimons accused her of 'giving racists a voice' in the interview but that was not printed in the Sun-Herald piece.
FitzSimons has strenuously denied all Price's claims, saying they had a 'friendly' conversation and insisting he did not raise his voice at any point.
Price has since revealed FitzSimons sent her a series of late night texts demanding she withdraw 'nonsense' claims he was 'aggressive' to her when they spoke.
'I'm quite happy for him to release the recordings if that will just settle things,' Price told Daily Mail Australian on Wednesday.
'It's been a bit of a drain and there's obviously a lot of more important issues that I want to focus on and get to work on as a new senator. It's been a not-so-welcome distraction.'
Price said commentators should not assume all Aboriginal people think the same way, or be surprised that some did not support an Indigenous voice to parliament.
'Enshrining it in the constitution suggests that as a race we're forever going to be in need of special measures and as a race what somehow defines us is being marginalised,' she said.
'The narrative that we are a country of oppressed people and oppressors - we've got to get away from that. It's not helpful, it's not constructive.'
FitzSimons has publicly brawled in the past with other prominent Indigenous Australians who did not agree with everything he wrote or said.
Indigenous journalist Stan Grant once mocked Peter FitzSimons over the Australia Day barbeques he held at his multimillion-dollar home on Sydney's lower north shore. Grant is pictured with wife Tracey Holmes
For years he hosted an Australia Day barbecue at the multimillion-dollar harbourside home at Cremorne he shares with TV presenter wife Lisa Wilkinson.
ABC journalist and Wiradjuri man Stan Grant, who attended the gathering on a semi-regular basis, mocked FitzSimons in a