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Day to Day Politics: Defining Aboriginality. Hanson style.

Thursday 1 December 2016

1 When in an interview with Andrew Bolt, Pauline Hanson said ”there’s no definition of an indigenous Australian” I at first blush thought she can’t be serious, surely.

“I think the whole lot needs to be opened up on this, a big debate on this.” She said. Yesterday, in response to some anti-immigration people on a debate page I asked if they could define for me, what an Australian is. Of course they couldn’t. Just as I couldn’t. Aussies come in many varieties.

A number of thoughts journeyed through my thought processes. The first was that the leader of One Nation was a racist. The statement confirmed it. Then I asked myself what it would feel like if I were an indigenous person and someone was asking for me to be defined. Bloody outrageous I concluded. Then I thought how Hanson would define me. I mean I’m Australian but my Irish heritage is substantive. It is the same for Indigenous Australians. It is not the percentage of one’s ancestry that defines whether or not they are Indigenous, but how strongly that has influenced their character.

In Eric Rolls’ book “Citizens” about Chinese immigration to Australia he quoted a woman whose surname was Tankey (Anglicised from Tan Kee), who had a Chinese great-grandparent and all of her other ancestors were European, who said that the Chinese in her was “very strong”.

Black people in the United Stated describe themselves as African-Americans. Black Australians describe themselves as Indigenous Australian. Some are darker than others. My brother has naturally darker skin than me. He is often asked if he is Italian.

The absurdity of Hanson’s statement should be seen for what it is. Blatant racism.

The fact of the matter is, a person who states that they are Indigenous Australian, regardless of whether that is due to a parent, a grandparent or even a great-grandparent or great-great-grandparent is Indigenous and may only be an eighth or a sixteenth Indigenous, has the right to do so.

2 So Australian children are falling behind the rest of the world in maths and science. Who is to blame for this? Both sides of politics have opposing views. The conservative’s say better quality teachers are the answer. Labor would argue that its necessary to deliver on the Gonski reforms of targeted funding would be sufficient to boost results.

Sue Thomson, ACER director of educational monitoring and research, said the study found that factors including Indigeneity, remoteness and low socioeconomic status had the highest correlation with low scores.

”A substantial proportion of our students are below the Australian proficient standard, with roughly half of students in remote areas at or below that level … clearly, we have a problem.”

An observation.

“For the life of me I fail to understand how anyone could vote for a party who thinks the existing education system is adequately funded and addresses the needs of the disadvantaged”

There is no greater need than the need for equality of opportunity in education”

3 For years, when Greg Hunt was Environment Minister, we listened to his ‘’no worries mate’’ appraisal of the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

I never took him seriously of course because he always came over as the con man that he is.

Now the Guardian reveals the contents of a draft report of the Australian government’s official “response plan” to the worst ever bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef commits it to no new action, pledges no new money and does not make any attempt to address climate change.

The Northern Great Barrier Reef Response Plan, marked ”draft” and ”confidential”, begins by describing the bleaching event as “the worst ever coral bleaching” and attributes its cause to climate change.

Note that a certain Pauline Hanson and two of her colleagues travelled to Great Keppel Island last Friday to hit out at “untruths” told by green groups about the reef’s health. And there she was in the water 1000 Ks away from where the worst damage is proclaiming that all was well. It was the science that was wrong. Seriously, when will Australians wake up to the fact that she hasn’t a clue as what she is talking about.

An observation.

”In terms of the environment. I wonder what price the people of tomorrow will pay for the stupidity of today”

4 So Nick Xenophon, and the Coalition have agreed to give Australian companies an advantage when competing for taxpayer-funded projects. It is a policy that Labor, particularly Kim Karr, have supported for many years.

With some other horse trading the ABCC legislation has passed. There is however a grace period of two years for some of the clauses by which time we may see a change in government. And Nick only got a letter from the PM saying that he would raise the matter at the next COAG Meeting. But the Prime Minister can gloat at least that he got it through.

Will the ABCC will mean more deaths in construction. What safeguards have been put in place. Will it be open to more foreign labour? Will it result in an attack on Aussie workers’ wages & conditions? What about the use of coercion & threat of 6 months gaol if you don’t speak to ABCC officials who may enter your premises without a warrant.

5 Peter Van Onselen tweeted ‘’everything that is wrong with politics contained in one article…’’

It was an article in the SMH saying that after two and a half years since Tony Abbott promised to get rid of the ‘’Life gold pass’’ for former MPs.

“It is likely the introduction of the Parliamentary Entitlements Legislation Amendment Bill will be delayed until early 2017,”

“Due to the government’s busy legislative agenda it may not be possible to progress this legislation within the final days remaining in this parliamentary year.”

Well doesn’t that say it all?

6 With talk of a Cabinet reshuffle surely the first person to get the boot has to be the Attorney General. Nothing more graphically illustrates the weakness of the Prime Minister than his inability to control his MPs. How Brandis has managed to retain his job is anyone’s guess. He still has questions to answer over the secret Bell deal with the WA Government. Perhaps the Senate references inquiry will flush out any irregularities.

7 The Bludger Track aggregate reading has Labor 52.7 and the Coalition 47.3 on the strength of results from Newspoll and Essential Research. Of course the big news was the IPOS poll of the performance rating of the Prime Minister.

Those approving of his performance (45 per cent) are matched by precisely that proportion of voters who disapprove.

At his height, 12 months ago in the Fairfax-Ipsos series, Turnbull enjoyed 69 per cent approval to just 16 per cent unfavourable.

That’s outstanding in any language but particularly so against Tony Abbott’s which was 35-59 when dumped, or minus 24 per cent.

8 I have left Donald Trump alone for a week but I can tell you this He has appointed Betty Devos as his Education Secretary. Betty is a literalist Christian believing in the Biblical interpretation of the earth’s beginning. She has no time for evolution.

My thought for the day.

”We should teach our children how to think. Not what to think”


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  1. Adrianne Haddow

    Maybe Pauline H and Andrew Bolt could be tasked with the job of defining what an indigenous Australian is…………. and tell that to the indigenous folk.
    Let’s hope there are no changes to 18c ……. they could be facing censure over their finalised definition but, of course, 18d might save them with their forays into fantasy.

    Alongside that, I’d like to see them define what a racist, right wing redhead and a hate spruiking dutch immigrant are……

    Then they could define what many of us, who call ourselves Australian, are…… a mixture of races, cultures, skin tones, belief systems, phobias, education levels, talents, passions.

    What a load of crap, who gave these people the right? Why do they consider they are fit to question the self identity of anyone?

    And Hanson tries to tell us, she’s not racist…….. the irony is overwhelming.

  2. Terry2

    I have been watching the passage of the Parliamentary Entitlements Legislation Amendment Bill which would get rid of the lifetime ‘gold pass’ for retired politicians also known as the travel rort.

    This was in the 2014 budget and strangely seems to have languished due to the “government’s busy legislative agenda”.

    Now we are told it should get listed for 2017.

    Don’t hold your breath.

  3. helvityni

    So pleased that Mal got something through; he’ll have a good Christmas after all; his government is an agile and progressive achiever…?

    Lucy: Is that all ?

    Mal : If it wasn’t for that bad Billy boy I WOULD have achieved more. I really like Nick and Pauline, very co-operative, don’t you think….

  4. Lindsay Stafford

    Actually there is a definition of an indigenous Australian. It is one that has been defined as “to identify with” and given the racist history of Australia, is the only definition that can be applied.
    Similarly to the American slaves the early settlers used the indigenous people for their sexual gratification, (rape). The children were left with the mother and thus were raised indigenous. Should one of the children be considered a “comely wench” the action was repeated, across the country and over many generations. This was compounded by misguided attempts by governments to “breed out the black”. (Rabbit proof fence
    From there, allowing Mendel’s Law to take its course, we have people who appear physically to be non-indigenous but have been raised, at least in their earlier years, immersed in their family’s culture and obviously “identify” with that culture.
    It was this sort of ignorance that got “our good friend” Bolt in recent trouble. (long may his troubles increase)
    This, obviously, does not take into account many other more modern “mixed race” couples where the children identify with the culture of one of their parents.

  5. Johno

    I am glad the greens walked out when Pauline did her maiden speech. She continues to make these blatant, off the cuff racist comments, then complains about being called racist.

  6. kerri

    Did anyone else notice the change in Turnbull’s posture in 7.30 last night?? The forward lean on one elbow with the other hand on his hip as one might lean on a bar whilst engaging the barperson? Wait for the media to start spouting about Malcolm having his MoJo back, but don’t hold your breath on him giving up blame for Labor.

  7. helvityni

    Yes, kerri, I did notice…

  8. Zathras

    Every time she opens her ugly mouth Hanson continues to display her ignorance and prejudice.

    Marrying an aborigine makes you one too?
    She’s somehow a victim of racism despite never have uttered a racist statement herself?
    Global warming must be a hoax because she saw some unbleached coral?

    Now that she’s truly in the public eye the media are obliged to discuss her statements truthfully and accurately and she is likewise obliged to verify them.

    Apart from walking out, politicians are just too cowardly to face up to her in Parliament so let’s debate it by all means – let the truth be known once and for all!

    There are already too many people leaping onto these ugly rants as justification for their own misguided obsessions.

    True racism comes from a position of power and privilege and she’s got that now.

    Time to put up or shut up, Pauline!

    That also goes for that self-professed intellectual embarrassment Malcolm Roberts.

  9. wam

    glad zathras that you have the education to give the Australian hanson respect but not to an Australian Aborigine.
    perhaps I am assuming parents can think.

  10. Matters Not

    Hanson is a very ‘fearful’ person. There’s Aborigines, Asians, Muslims and then there’s ‘protestors’. Today in the Senate, during debate about security measures she again revealed her paranoia.


    The Senate is examining the security upgrade to Parliament House.

    Derryn Hinch is against the measure that a 2.6 metre high fence would be erected around the building: “It’s like putting barbed wire on the Opera House.”

    Pauline Hanson is for it: “I question the security in this building….We all live in fear.”

    Yes: Pauline sings her signature tune. We all live in fear . Fear, fear everywhere, and not a drop of drink (Presumably).Clearly, she had a traumatic childhood.

  11. Terry2

    In case you haven’t been keeping up to date with the Backpackers tax odyssey, a variant on Blue Hills.

    The 32.5% headline tax that was to be reduced to 19% and then to 15% or perhaps 13% has now been agreed and should pass the Senate at 15% following a deal with the Greens. BUT as with all such deals there is a penalty the government has to pay.

    The contentious 95% superannuation departing Australia tax has been reduced to 65% and the Greens have demanded and secured a spending commitment of an extra $100m on Landcare ON TOP of the tax deal. But the Greens deal costs the government more in revenue than the Labor deal would have at 13%.

    So, Morrison has cut off his nose to spite his face !

  12. Johno

    MN….That is such a classic response from Pauline “We all live in fear” She has some major issues. When Pauline came to Adelaide 20 or so years ago we were out there protesting her racist ideas at the venue she was visiting. It all got a bit vocal as you would expect. From memory she snuck out the back door.

  13. Sir ScotchMistery

    pauline lives in fear that at some stage, after all these years, someone will rock up and say they were poisoned by her Thailand sourced fish.

    Just proves she is a cow.

  14. Michael Taylor

    “We all live in fear”.

    She doesn’t speak for me. I don’t live in fear.

  15. Pauly

    Hanson has a right to her views…. and we have the right to politically hunt her kind from our liberal democratic polity for blatant alienation and marginalization of First Nation peoples.

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