Pauline Hanson claims Indigenous Voice to Parliament would be ‘Australia’s version of apartheid’


Pauline Hanson has claimed the Indigenous Voice to Parliament would be ‘Australia’s version of apartheid’ in an extraordinary speech to the Senate.

The One Nation leader tripled-down on Wednesday on her strident opposition to voters being asked to enshrine the advisory body into the constitution.

The speech to a largely empty chamber while most were distracted by Greens leader Adam Bandt’s National Press Club address was just a week after she sensationally stormed out of the Senate during an acknowledgement of country.

‘The risk is very real that the sovereignty that all Australians have over their land and country will be handed to a racial minority,’ she said.

‘Why does this have to be in the constitution? What is the real ulterior motive? This can only be about power – creating a nation within a nation.

‘This can only be about taking power from whitefellas and giving it to blackfellas. This is Australia’s version of apartheid. 

Pauline Hanson has claimed the Indigenous Voice to Parliament would be ‘Australia’s version of apartheid’ in an extraordinary speech to the Senate

‘Are they prepared for the compensation or reparations which will be demanded when the High Court decides that traditional ownership means sovereign control?’

Senator Hanson, without missing a beat, moved on to another attack on the entire concept of acknowledgement of country speeches.

One is read at the start of Parliament every day, and she after her walkout complained they were now even delivered on airplanes. 

‘Where will you stand, given that you acknowledge traditional ownership every day? Do you acknowledge that I, like millions of Australians, legally own my land and worked very hard for it?’ she said.

‘Do I have rights to my land, too? Can’t you acknowledge my connection to my land and my love for my country?’

Senator Hanson then attacked her most forceful critic, Greens senator Lidia Thorpe, who caused her own scene on Monday by raising her fist in a ‘black power’ gesture and calling The Queen a ‘coloniser’ as she gave her oath of allegiance. 

‘I note Lidia Thorpe’s racist interjection in the past when she told me to go back to where I came from,’ the One Nation MP continued.

‘She can rest assured that I did, indeed, go back to where I came from – back to Queensland, where I was born and where I raised my children, and where my parents and grandparents were born.

‘There is nowhere else for me to go. Australia is my home. Australia is our home – indigenous and non-indigenous alike.’

Lidia Thorpe strode into the Senate with her fist in the air and then mockingly called the Queen a 'coloniser'

Lidia Thorpe strode into the Senate with her fist in the air and then mockingly called the Queen a ‘coloniser’

Senator Hanson’s entire five-minute speech was her most unequivocal rearguard against the Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

It included strong praise for controversial Aboriginal senator Jacinta Price, who is the lone indigenous MP who opposes the advisory body.

Senator Price claimed Australia was ‘saturated’ with tokenistic ‘virtue signalling’ like acknowledgement of country, and the Indigenous Voice was not universally accepted among her people.

‘I personally have had more than my fill of being symbolically recognised,’ she said in her maiden speech last week.

‘No, prime minister, we don’t need another handout… and no, we indigenous Australians have not come to agreement on this statement.’

The Country Liberal former deputy mayor of Alice Springs even backed up Senator Hanson’s walkout and position on the issue.

‘I think I understand Pauline’s frustrations. We don’t want to see all these all these symbolic gestures. We want to see real action,’ she said. 

Senator Hanson stormed out as Senate President Sue Lines acknowledged the indigenous community at Parliament's opening, yelling; 'No, I won't and never will'

Senator Hanson stormed out as Senate President Sue Lines acknowledged the indigenous community at Parliament’s opening, yelling; ‘No, I won’t and never will’

What is apartheid?

Apartheid was an oppressive, racist system in South Africa between 1948 and 1991.

Wide-ranging laws divided the country by race with the ruling white minority at the top and black Africans at the bottom.

Sexual relations and marriage across races was banned and black people were denied the right to vote and discriminated against in housing and employment.

Millions of black Africans were forced to live in segregated communities and forbidden to mix with other races.

The system was eventually overturned after intense international pressure. 

Senator Hanson on Wednesday claimed Prime Minister Anthony Albanese had ‘contempt’ for anyone opposing the Indigenous Voice, even First Nations elders.

‘His contempt for those who rightly and justly request details of the proposed voice, such as its powers, functions and costs, has also been very clear,’ she said.

‘He is not promoting unity at all. The prime minister is deliberately stoking division and stoking it on racial lines.’

She said elders contacted her saying they never had a say in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, on which the new initiative is based, and did not agree with it.

Mr Albanese hit back at Senator Price’s concerns on Monday and maintained the Indigenous Voice would not delay practical solutions.

‘I think with respect, when Senator Price has a look at what is proposed in terms of the wording, then the idea that this is anything other than a unifying moment for the nation is, I believe just doesn’t stack up,’ he said on Sky News.

Senator Hanson appeared to have based her speech around this comment, as she referred to its language and criticism of Senator Price.

‘This comment has come from an Aboriginal woman. The prime minister has dismissed her comments saying, “they don’t stack up”,’ she said.

‘No. His comments do not stack up. That’s because the prime minister is listening only to the Aboriginal industry, whose gravy train relies on separating Australians by race and entrenching indigenous disadvantage. 

‘I’ve been saying this for decades.’

Anthony Albanese said the Voice to Parliament would be an opportunity to 'uplift our nation'

Anthony Albanese said the Voice to Parliament would be an opportunity to ‘uplift our nation’

Senator Hanson said nothing in the proposed Voice addressed practical issues like violence and poverty in Aboriginal communities, and there was no real detail about how it would operate.

‘There is much in this proposal that is open-ended, ill-defined and fraught with peril,’ she said.

She claimed a referendum would cost taxpayers $120 million and could wait until the next election in three years as ‘what’s the rush?’

Senator Hanson finished by turning to another of her frequent topics – claiming too many people said they were Aboriginal.

‘We need a stronger definition of Aboriginality. From 2016 to 2021, the number of Australians identifying as indigenous rose by 92,000 or 26 per cent, while our overall population increase, including immigration, was only eight per cent,’ she said.

‘This is what we call “jumping on the bandwagon”.’ 

This morphed into closing remarks suggesting the entire idea of an Indigenous Voice to Parliament was invented by white people wanting to pat themselves on the back.

‘There is much in this proposal that reeks of the empty gestures and symbolism which make progressives feel good about themselves but otherwise achieve nothing,’ she said.

‘It’s also reeking of the disgusting, patronising attitudes that privileged bureaucrats and lawmakers routinely adopt towards indigenous Australians proud members of a culture which has endured for tens of thousands of years. 

‘This is an attempt to rewrite the past, manipulate the present and destroy the future.

‘Unlike both sides of this chamber, I have listened to indigenous Australians and their elders. Stop using them as fodder for your own purposes.’

New Aboriginal senator Jacinta Price has slammed welcome to country ceremonies for being token gestures and 'throwaway lines' after Pauline Hanson's walkout from the Senate

New Aboriginal senator Jacinta Price has slammed welcome to country ceremonies for being token gestures and ‘throwaway lines’ after Pauline Hanson’s walkout from the Senate

The debate about the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, which appears set to clear both houses and be put to voters, has been a huge distraction to Mr Albanese’s agenda in the first two weeks of Parliament.

Senator Hanson’s walkout last Wednesday also dragged the issue of displaying the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags in Parliament into the debate.

Displaying the two flags alongside the Australian one in both houses was one of the first acts of the Albanese Government last week.

The Indigenous Voice to Parliament is proposed to be an elected body of First Nations representatives enshrined in the constitution that would advise the government on issues affecting them.

Pauline Hanson’s speech in full

The creation of a voice to parliament will not, as the prime minister would have us believe, be a unifying moment. I’ve already been contacted by elders on traditional lands who say they do not support the voice and had no say in the Uluru statement. 

This will be no different to the stolen generations apology. Let me remind you of the reason for this apology. We were told it was necessary for us to move forward together as a united nation. How has that worked out?

The prime minister’s contempt for these dissenting voices, including Aboriginal voices, is very clear. His contempt for those who rightly and justly request details of the proposed voice, such as its powers, functions and costs, has also been very clear. He is not promoting unity at all. The prime minister is deliberately stoking division and stoking it on racial lines. 

As Senator Price noted in her landmark first speech in this chamber: ‘Many indigenous Australians have not been consulted about the voice, and many have no clue what it’s about.’ This comment has come from an Aboriginal woman. The prime minister has dismissed her comments saying, ‘They don’t stack up.’ No. His comments do not stack up. 

That’s because the prime minister is listening only to the Aboriginal industry, whose gravy train relies on separating Australians by race and entrenching indigenous disadvantage. I’ve been saying this for decades.

There is nothing in this proposal that redresses real disadvantage. There is nothing in this proposal that will end the violence, poverty and failure of service delivery in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. There is nothing in this proposal that indicates how much this entire exercise will cost Australian taxpayers. 

However, I feel compelled to note that the annual funding of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission in its final years was well north of a billion dollars. It’s almost certain a referendum alone will cost in excess of $120 million. 

A better solution would be to hold the referendum at the next election. What’s the rush? There is much in this proposal that is open-ended, ill-defined and fraught with peril. The risk is very real that the sovereignty that all Australians have over their land and country will be handed to a racial minority.

Why does this have to be in the constitution? What is the real ulterior motive? This can only be about power – creating a nation within a nation. This can only be about taking power from whitefellas and giving it to blackfellas. This is Australia’s version of apartheid

Are they prepared for the compensation or reparations which will be demanded when the High Court decides that ‘traditional ownership’ means ‘sovereign control’. 

Where will you stand, given that you acknowledge traditional ownership every day? Do you acknowledge that I, like millions of Australians, legally own my land and worked very hard for it? Do I have rights to my land, too? Can’t you acknowledge my connection to my land and my love for my country? 

I note Lidia Thorpe’s racist interjection in the past when she told me to go back to where I came from. She can rest assured that I did, indeed, go back to where I came from – back to Queensland, where I was born and where I raised my children, and where my parents and grandparents were born. There is nowhere else for me to go. Australia is my home. Australia is our home – indigenous and non-indigenous alike.

The prime minister says the voice won’t have a veto power, but he cannot speak for future governments or say what legislation before parliament must be referred to the voice for consultation, who will be eligible to stand for election to the voice and who will be eligible to vote. 

We need a stronger definition of Aboriginality. From 2016 to 2021, the number of Australians identifying as indigenous rose by 92,000 or 26 per cent, while our overall population increase, including immigration, was only eight per cent. This is what we call ‘jumping on the bandwagon’. 

There is much in this proposal that reeks of the empty gestures and symbolism which make progressives feel good about themselves but otherwise achieve nothing. It’s also reeking of the disgusting, patronising attitudes that privileged bureaucrats and lawmakers routinely adopt towards indigenous Australians—proud members of a culture which has endured for tens of thousands of years. This is an attempt to rewrite the past, manipulate the present and destroy the future.

Unlike both sides of this chamber, I have listened to indigenous Australians and their elders. Stop using them as fodder for your own purposes.

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