Interview with 6PR's Oliver Peterson on Uluru climb closure

04 November 2019

Malarndirri McCarthy interview with Oliver Peterson, 6PR, on Uluru climb closure, Friday 25 October 2019.

OLIVER PETERSON, 6PR: Uluru is shut. You cannot climb the Rock. That is of about 1 hour ago. I want to go to the Labor Senator for the Northern Territory, Malarndirri McCarthy. Appreciate your time on Perth Live. Good afternoon

MALARNDIRRI MCCARTHY, NORTHERN TERRITORY SENATOR: Hey Ollie. Hello to you and all your listeners.

PETERSON: What have the scenes been like around Uluru today Malarndirri? Because all the pictures that have been on our TV screens have been huge queues.

MCCARTHY: Well they're pretty amazing from what I'm hearing as well. I'm actually still in transit from Canberra but getting lots and lots of photographs coming through from family members there, my son's there. And lots of information. So it's quite full on, quite hectic and clearly the Anangu are also getting ready for the ceremony on Sunday. I'm on my way up there yeah.

PETERSON:Opinions are divided Malarndirri about whether or not we should have closed Uluru to the general public. What is your opinion on this?

MCCARTHY:Well look, today is a pretty significant day Ollie, I was only a teenage girl when the Uluru was handed back to the Anangu and that was an amazing time in history. And to know that they've been asking all this time for people to be just aware that it is sacred, it is special but in the last decade it became also just environmentally there were just issues in the Rock. And the amount of people getting hurt was of considerable concern for the local Traditional Owners. So I'm please for them that the plan they had put in place almost a decade ago has now come to fruition and naturally it's going to be an important time there this weekend. And I can certainly tell you more after the weekend as well.

PETERSON:Well I was in Uluru myself a couple of years ago. I told out listeners yesterday afternoon Malarndirri that I was actually unaware you still could climb the rock. I thought that we couldn't climb the Rock. Obviously there's been a lot of publicity over the last six months or so with the closure date now upon us. But i actually had no desire when I was there in Uluru. In fact we spent hours and hours walking around the Rock and just enjoyed and embraced exactly what we saw. I thought it was absolutely brilliant. I didnt need to climb it.

MCCARTHY: Aw bless ya. That's lovely to hear. I think what maybe people may have got confused with is that Anangu have asked if people could not climb but they never made it compulsory not to climb. They just had a sign at the base of the Rock just saying: Hey if you can be respectful of us. And so that may be what people got confused with...But it's certainly been available to climb right up until today and as you said in your opening, it is now offically closed.

PETERSON: And that would be it. You couldn't see that there would be any reversal on that decision somewhere down the track? Do you think that we now just get on with it? You can still visit Uluru of course. It's a fabulous place. You know go out, as I said, and walk around, it's lovely.

MCCARTHY: Tell your listeners, they've got to go there. It is one of the most spiritual places I've certainly ever been and and you can't help but be touched. You don't have to be Aboriginal to to be touched by the spirituality, let me tell you. And it's just incredible, and I just say to all your listeners please go, because they've put so much effort into all other things you know the camel rides segues, the walks, certainly the Field of Lights which is magnificent.

PETERSON: Unbelievable!

MCCARTHY: Oh you've been, of course, you would have seen it when you were there!

PETERSON: As I say, that was actually our motivation to go to Uluru was for the Field of Lights and as you say, the feeling and the spiritual messages that the entire area of Uluru emcompasses I think all Australians, if you get the opportunity to go there you will certainly appreciate a lot more about our wonderful country.

MCCARTHY: Totally! And it's an extraordinary place so please go, and I think too that just the landscape Ollie, you know it's just incredible and it wonderful to be a part of Australia when you see that place.

PETERSON: Malarndirri McCarthy, I hope you enjoy the festivities and the commemorations over the weekend.Thank you for talking to us this afternoon.

MCCARTHY: No worries Ollie, keep in touch.