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Steve Price: that poor, hard done by old white man

It has been a pretty busy couple of weeks leading up to Christmas and I was going to leave off the overt political commentary for a while, but since Peter Dutton and Steve Price aren’t going to, it would be remiss of me to stop correcting their ignorance.

The odious Peter Dutton’s disingenuous call for Australians to rise up and fight for a Christmas that was never under threat was disgustingly cynical, even for a man as morally decrepit as he. Unfortunately for our reptilian Minister for Immigration, his attempt to politicise a major holiday celebration came across as pretty transparent and was widely criticised, so I won’t repeat what others have written.

But my attention was caught by the headline that Steve Price felt that “Old white men need to be heard too”. Now ignoring my disappointment that this was even considered worthy of being a headline – as I have said elsewhere there are far better spokesmen for conservative politics than Price – I just couldn’t let these comments go without a response.

But let’s consider these words as if they didn’t come from a belligerent alt-right cheerleader like Price. What if someone I respected said the same thing? First of all, there is a point that Price almost misses in his delivery, and one that could largely be ignored by progressive responses to his latest idiocy. There are many in our society who justifiably feel increasingly marginalised and disempowered as a result of the ongoing process of globalisation. And you don’t need to be part of a disadvantaged minority to find life difficult or to feel that society’s odds are stacked against you. White males and their families are a segment of this group of battlers who are struggling with increasing unemployment and underemployment (anyone still want to tell me the Coalition is better at handling the economy?), rising house prices, the predatory gambling industry and continued cuts to services and welfare.

Quite fairly, many people in these circumstances feel their concerns are not important to a political class that seems far more concerned about pleasing its political donors. Many will also feel that their struggle is not given the same status or sympathy as that of recognised minority groups and that their immediate problems are a greater concern than climate change or the ASX. The resentment of feeling like an ‘invisible minority’ is dangerous because it can be channelled by nativist politicians as evidenced by Brexit and Donald Trump (and Adolph Hitler for that matter). So in amidst Price’s bristling self-entitlement there is a kernel of truth. The disenfranchisement of the poor needs to be addressed and if were to be addressed through engagement and inclusive policies without the cynical scaremongering our politicians lazily resort to, we would probably have less idiots like Malcolm Roberts elected and a better functioning democracy.

But Price isn’t actually concerned about that, since appealing to people’s resentment seems to be part of his business model. Sounding a bit like George Brandis defending people’s right to be bigots, the shock jock argued that the views of older white men deserved greater prominence in Australian society, suggesting that thanks to ‘lefties’ you had to be a feminist or member of the LGBTI community to be taken seriously.

Is he for real? The only time LBTI advocates are heard from is on LGBTI issues such as marriage equality (and then the old white men in government still ignore them), whereas old white men are heard all the time. They hold the majority of positions of power in government, the public service, the media and major corporations. You see them interviewed in positions of assumed expertise and status every day. Even more than they are heard, their actions are felt for it is they that hold the positions of power and whose decisions affect thousands of less fortunate Australians.

Sadly for the disenfranchised Anglo Saxon, the old white men whose words and actions take such precedence in our world do little to help them. The cost-cutting, tax evasion, property speculation and use of offshore labour that our elite make regular use of are part of the reason there is such inequality and resentment within Australian society.

Old white men are heard alright. The fact that Price’s statement was newsworthy makes it pretty much self-contradictory to begin with. And I can’t go a day without hearing complaints on social media that being a white man isn’t quite as advantageous as it used to be. Being heard isn’t your problem Steve, nor is being taken seriously. Your problem is that when you are taken seriously, people think about what you are saying and you are being heard for what you are, so many of us react with appropriate disdain.

This isn’t to say we can’t be tolerant of conflicting opinions in public debate (although if Price is calling for this, that is a level of extreme hypocrisy few people even attempt), so I agree with the premise that people shouldn’t be judged and condemned for holding outdated conservative views. For some people it takes time and, as I said earlier, constructive engagement, for those views to shift. We don’t change their mind by ostracising them from the conversation or ridiculing them. However, when their views lead to behaviour that affects others unfairly, then people are open to justifiable criticism.

Steve, when you start presenting evidence that old white men are disproportionately represented in mortality statistics, incarceration rates or unemployment statistics, then I will be every bit as sympathetic as I am to the plight of other disadvantaged groups; but if you just complain that your conservative throwback opinions are not being given the same uncritical respect they once enjoyed in the good old days when you were more free to racially and sexually vilify minorities, you will continue to be heard and mocked for your bigotry. You won’t get the respect you crave from those of us who take you seriously enough to consider your claims through a critical lens.

This article was originally published as ‘Steve Price‘ on Quietblog.


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  1. Davidbruce

    I used to think I was a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant (WASP), but my niece traced our ancestry to Scandinavia and Wales. Imagine my relief to learn I was a Celtic Viking?

  2. John Brame

    Well said Dave, my sentiments exactly !!

  3. Terry2

    Peter Dutton has won the Crikey readers vote as Arsehat of the year – now two years in a row.

    There are some very smart people out there, don’t despair !

  4. luke weyland

    There is no Christmas, for the homeless. No Christmas for those we lock up in detention centres. No Christmas for the women and children who must flee domestic violence. There is no place for the disadvantaged in Dutton’s Christmas. No place for Jesus too

  5. helvityni

    No Christmas for this poor man either:

    “The Department of Immigration and Border Protection says a 27-year-old Sudanese refugee from Manus Island detention centre has died in the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital after being airlifted to Australia for urgent treatment”.

    Dutton was not in the hurry to help this poor asylum seeker earlier on when his health problems were known, just another unwanted black man dying…no dent in Dutton’s Chrissie celebrations…

    Shame on our Government!

  6. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    You nailed it in the final paragraph, Dave.

  7. jim

    Great post ,Oh how the corporate world rule the RWNJs, is to me just breathtaking.

  8. Really

    Hmm what minorities are you talking about? As far as the marriage goes? Marriage of two people is a religious thing. Stop putting pressure where it’s not welcome. Even though many of our priests are paedophiles and rapists. Still doesn’t warrant the gays to be except as a marriage. If your calling Muslims a minority. Think again. They are a majority and over half of the Muslim population believe in Sharia. As far as that unwanted Sudanese bloke. It’s just one less blood sucking bludger trouble maker we don’t have to deal with. The sooner one nation forms a majority this country will be better off. And you who don’t like it can go and claim asylum in some shit hole Muslim country. Then let’s see what you have to say?
    Australia for Australians. The working class. Not these leeches from other countries that have nothing to offer besides living off the tax payer creating trouble bringing their third world intellect with them. And no place for islam I’m not Western soiecty.

  9. Matters Not

    Really – isn’t for real. Lack of ‘first world’ intellect and all that. Another living example of a failed education system.

    Not that I want to put pressure where it isn’t welcomed.

  10. Sam

    It was a brilliant post but can I be the Grinch in this display of appreciation for it and point out that I didn’t care for the author using the term alt-right.

    To me there’s a difference between respecting the right of your average conservative to be heard, as the author rightly says we should do and pandering to the extreme conservative element by using that term. The likes of price and Co don’t deserve that respect.

  11. plover6235

    I am an old white man and I cannot agree with these comments. Waleed, you have the ability to cut to the chase on so many issues. This is one of them. Old white men had their opportunities to fix the system and didn’t. So don’t complain if the system doesn’t suit your antiquated ideas

  12. Salstarat

    Steve Price is so typical of the inane, unspeakably monotonous and mind-numbingly boring ultra right-wing Conservatives – every one of them as uninspiring as a block of cement. It’s not often you come across someone who makes “watching paint dry” look like the better alternative, but Price has that dubious honour. The man has ZERO sense of humour and is as funny as a uranium enema! Just like the tediously bland idiots in the ranks of the LNP, Price and his right-wing fascist mates, in Australia’s worst and most inept government, have only excelled in ONE thing – mindless, relentless mediocrity!

    Like · Reply · 1 · Just now · Edited

  13. wam

    The old days are loud and clear in the clp country! I heard the golf boys laughing at the news of Aboriginal doctors in WA ‘bullshit every one knows they are academically inferior to europeans.
    Price is alive and supported by tlob. qed.
    He speaks to and for many labor men and their women. Using the familiar stereotypes and beliefs for which the labor hierarchy has not presented any counter arguments for the below average labor men and women to use.

    dear dear davidbruce celts were about a millennium before the vikings.

  14. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    “many labor men and their women” – another piece of bs you’ve uttered. What century are we in?

    Happy Christmas All (except sexist dinosaurs like Steve Price))..

  15. Arthur Tarry

    Salstarat – wonderful comments, exactly my opinion of these industrious dolts. They are totally without merit and are merely followers and mimics who are beneath contempt

  16. helvityni

    I’m confident that Dutton does not have any Scandinavian connections…

  17. Zathras

    So what’s new?

    A privileged Christian white man in a predominantly white Christian society constantly whining about how he’s personally under threat by an overwhelming minority of “anybody who doesn’t agree with his narrow view of the world”.

    Now add on a legion of similarly aggrieved radio listeners who are addicted to outrage and probably think that life has not been as wonderful for them as they had hoped and desperately need somebody else to blame.

    He’s an apologist for all things Conservative – regardless of merit – because he wants to retain his position of power and influence by staying loyal to his followers.

    I recall how Price was conned by John Safran over a faked ecstasy stunt years ago. Nothing has changed. He’s eager to hear what he wants to hear and pass those feelings on to others. He was called “the poisoned dwarf” for a reason and was also found guilty of homosexual vilification.

    I also recall how he claimed to have in his possession (and also seen) a video of Mark Latham “cavorting with strippers at a buck’s night” – a claim later completely retracted.

    So he’s prepared to publicly lie to push his prejudices as well.

    Everything is black or white in his world – never any shades of grey.

    Welcome to Australia 1901-2016 (and counting). Price is not really the problem – just a symptom of our society.

  18. silkworm

    Price will never change his views as long as Channel Ten pays him to hold them.

  19. Barney

    My humble opinion….. Dutton is one of the best imigration ministers we’ve had and I was relieved when we voted out the stupid policies of the previous few Labour governments. What a circus that was! As for Price – he’s one of the highest rating shows on radio….. not exactly minority conservative right wing views.

  20. Sam

    Steve Price is just struggling with his sexuality.I think he’ll definitely come out very soon. I wish you all the best Steve.

  21. michael lacey

    I am an old white man but thankfully nothing like Steve Price!

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