“Australia's version of apartheid": Pauline Hanson hits back at Lidia Thorpe
One Nation senator Pauline Hanson has claimed adding an Indigenous Voice to Parliament would be “Australia’s version of apartheid” while speaking to a largely empty Senate chamber.
Most of her Senate colleagues were watching Greens leader Adam Bandt’s address at the National Press Club when Senator Hanson tripled down on her opposition to voters being asked to enshrine an Indigenous advisory body into the constitution.
“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.
“Are they prepared for the compensation or reparations which will be demanded when the High Court decides that traditional ownership means sovereign control?”
Having stormed out of Parliament last week in opposition to the Acknowledgement of Country, Senator Hanson then set her sights on the concept of acknowledgement of country speeches, which are read every day at the start of parliament.
She even complained that they were now delivered on aeroplanes.
“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?”
She then went after her most forceful critic, Greens senator Lidia Thompson, who herself caused a scene on Monday when she called the Queen a “coloniser” in 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,” Senator Hanson 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.”
Senator Hanson’s five-minute speech also saw her strongly praise controversial senator Jacinta Price, the only Indigenous MP who opposes the Voice to Parliament.
Senator Price claimed the acknowledgement of country speeches were among tokenistic “virtue signalling” that have “saturated” Australia, adding that the Voice to Parliament wasn’t universally accepted among her people.
“I personally have had more than my fill of being symbolically recognised,” Senator Thorpe 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.”
Addressing Senator Hanson’s walkout, Senator Thorpe said she thinks she understands the One Nation MP’s “frustrations”.
“We don’t want to see all these symbolic gestures,” she said.
“We want to see real action.”
Image: Commonwealth of Australia