Bess Price

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Bess Price
Member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
for Stuart
In office
25 August 2012 – 27 August 2016
Preceded by Karl Hampton
Succeeded by Scott McConnell
Personal details
Born October 1960 (1960-10) (age 58)
Yuendumu, Northern Territory, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Country Liberal Party
Spouse(s) David Price
Relations Karl Hampton (nephew)
Alma mater Curtin University

Bess Nungarrayi Price (born October 1960)[1] is an Aboriginal Australian activist and politician. She was a Country Liberal Party member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly from 2012 to 2016, representing the electorate of Stuart, and was Minister for Community Services in the Giles Ministry. She lives in Alice Springs in Central Australia.


Born in Yuendumu, her first language is Warlpiri. She also knows Luritja, Western Arrernte and Anmatyerre.[2] Price lived in humpies (traditional Aboriginal dwellings) until she was nine and became a mother at thirteen years of age. A victim of domestic violence, she left the father of her child when she was 19 and began studying to be a teacher.[3]

She attained a Bachelor of Applied Science in Aboriginal Community Management and Development from Curtin University and has worked in education and training, public administration, the media, community development, interpreting, translating and language teaching and has experience in small business management. With her husband Dave Price, she is a partner with Jajirdi Consultants working in cross cultural awareness training, community liaison and Warlpiri language services.[4]

The Northern Territory Labor Government appointed Price as Chairperson of its Indigenous Affairs Advisory Council (IAAC). The Council was set up to provide advice and make recommendations regarding the implementation and further development of the Closing the Gap and Working Future agendas and assist the Northern Territory Government to engage with Indigenous people. In November 2011, Price announced her retirement from the Indigenous Advisory Council and intention to stand for the Country Liberal Party in the Northern Territory election of 25 August 2012 for the Central Australian seat of Stuart against her nephew, Labor MP Karl Hampton.[5][6] She was elected with a swing of 18%.[7]

She was nominated in 2012 for the US International Women of Courage Award.[3]

On 9 September 2013, she was named Minister for Community Services, Parks and Wildlife, Statehood and Women's Policy in the Northern Territory government.[8] On 12 Dec 2014, she was appointed additionally Minister for Local Government,[9] and on 10 Feb 2015 also Minister for Housing.[10] She lost office at the Northern Territory election of 27 August 2016.

Political advocacy

Price has strongly criticised the high levels of violence in Central Australian indigenous communities and supported the Northern Territory Intervention.[11] In December 2009 she delivered the Bennelong Society's inaugural Peter Howson lecture, also on the topic of indigenous violence, and received the Bennelong Medal.[12] She spoke at the Centre for Independent Studies, Sydney, on 23 March 2011[13] and appeared on ABC television show Q&A on 11 April 2011.[14] On Q&A, Price said that she supported the Intervention.[15]

Price's public show of support for the Intervention policy instigated by the Howard Government drew criticism from some left-leaning Aboriginal advocates. Legal academic Larissa Behrendt posted an offensive tweet regarding Price in reaction to the Q&A program, leading Price to appear on the front page of The Australian on 14 April 2011.[17] In 2012, Price told SBS TV's Insight Program, that mixed heritage Aboriginal-Australians should acknowledge their other heritage "And just not go one way [...] That has to happen here in Australia so we can all be honest and equal with each other and understanding because it creates the division."[18]

In May 2012 and again in August 2012 she criticised Amnesty International for its opposition to the Intervention.[19] Price accused the organisation of ignoring the suffering of women in Central Australia:[20]

She spoke in Sydney on 29 January 2013, at the launch of Stephanie Jarrett's book, Liberating Aboriginal People from Violence.[22] She again called for an end to violence after the stabbing death of her sister Rosalie in April 2014.[23]


  1. ^ Rintoul, Stuart (19 May 2012). "Cry from the heart". The Weekend Australian Magazine. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  2. ^ ABC Indigenous: contributor
  3. ^ a b "Women on a mission for battered families". The Australian. 15 January 2013.
  4. ^ Violence against Women Advisory Group Joint Media Release
  5. ^
  6. ^ The CLP brings bush politics back to the town
  7. ^ NT Election 2012: Division of Stuart: Final
  8. ^ 'Refreshed ministerial team' media release
  9. ^ 'NT Government announces reshuffle', NT News
  10. ^ 'New Northern Territory cabinet announced'
  11. ^ Bess Price, Against change for the wrong reasons, The Australian, 27 Aug 2009
  12. ^ Inaugural Peter Howson Lecture Archived 7 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine.; (video)
  13. ^ S. Hudson, Straddling black fella and white fella laws, [email protected], 25 March 2011
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ a b "Defence, Discrimination and Regrets". Q&A. ABC Television. 11 April 2011. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  16. ^ Marcia Langton (15 April 2011). "Aboriginal sophisticates betray bush sisters". The Australian. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  17. ^ P. Karvelas, More offensive than 'sex with a horse': Larissa Behrendt's Twitter slur against Bess Price, The Australian 14 April 2011
  18. ^
  19. ^ Indigenous leader slams Amnesty, Sydney Morning Herald, 26 May 2012; Amnesty a racist organisation, says Bess Price, The Australian, 9 August 2012.
  20. ^ "Amnesty a racist organisation, says Bess Price". The Australian. 9 August 2012.
  21. ^ Stuart Rintoul (9 August 2012). "Amnesty a racist organisation, says Bess Price". The Australian. Retrieved 17 March 2013.
  22. ^
  23. ^ 'Bess Nungarrayi Price has lost 10 siblings and talks about life in an Aboriginal town camp', NT News 9 May 2014.

External links

  • Jajirdi Cross Cultural Consultants homepage
  • ABC Background Briefing MP3 2011-05-01
  • Maiden speech in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, 23 October 2012.
Northern Territory Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Karl Hampton
Member for Stuart
Succeeded by
Scott McConnell
Retrieved from ""
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