Pauline Hanson has amassed a fair bit of political power of late, so it’s vital to address her statements. Often, that’s a relatively simple matter of tearing down her plainly inflammatory quips, and waiting for One Nation to dissolve ala Palmer United.
Other times – times like tonight – it’s a bit more confusing. Her turn on The Bolt Report was more scattered and vaguely terrified than anything else.
Was it about being a persecuted white person? Or another uninterrupted interview with a like-minded, right-wing journalist about not having free speech? Something tenuously amounting to a point about the complexities of modern-day Aboriginality, only to be sullied by literally everything else she has previously and consequently said about Aboriginal Australians?
Fkn search me. After Andrew Bolt originally and predictably asked about changes to the Racial Discrimination Act, Hanson began her two-minute reply with the usual freedom-of-speech-equals-freedom-from-consequences patter:
“Y’know, everyone is entitled to have an opinion and speak on many issues right across the board.”
“Australians feel they are being denied [FACT CHECK: I do not feel that], and they don’t want this.”
“And they’re going to say, ‘oh, what are you going to say that you can’t say now?’ That’s not the whole point.
“The thing is that… If we have a discussion or a debate and I offend someone, offending goes by how you may feel. Anyone can be easily offended.”
For the record, none of this is out of context. Bolt does not interrupt her once, and no amount of editing would make any of this flow better.
It’s also extremely great that Hanson attempts to tackle the overarching question of “what are you, a powerful white politician, actually being kept from saying?” question. But, realising that she doesn’t have an answer, she was forced to move on:
“I’ve raised the issues of equality over the years, whether you’re an Aboriginal or a non-Aboriginal.”
“And I’ll be asked the question: what defines an Aboriginal? Do you know there’s no definition to [sic] an Aboriginal?”
We should point out that sure, there might be valid debates around the definition of Aboriginality and where heritage, culture and personality play into how someone defines themselves, but the discourse by Hanson and Bolt is obviously much less about self-identity and more about their own legal ability to mouth off in potentially damaging ways.
Their takes have much different undertones compared to, say, a speech by Indigenous academic Michael Dodson on the subject.
But moving on:
“If you marry an Aboriginal you can be classified [as one], or if the community or the elders accept you into that community you can be defined as an Aboriginal.”
“That’s not good enough because then if you make a comment about it, well what are you? Are you an Aboriginal or not an Aboriginal?”
“I think the whole lot needs to be opened up on this, a big debate on this.”
Why? Honestly, why are people with no Aboriginal ties to think of so invested in manufacturing this debate?
Presumably, it’s to further denigrate Aboriginality as something to be both proved beyond a doubt to white Australia and belittled as a ploy for special treatment, as Bolt did in his now-infamous, Section 18C-breaking “It’s so hip to be black” Herald Sun article.
Anyway, Hanson finished it all off with something about people being too precious these days, an argument that, weirdly, only vocal bigots who get called out for racism tend to adopt.
Give the end of her speech a squiz below and please, please let us know the minute you figure out what exactly is going on.
— The Bolt Report (@theboltreport) November 28, 2016
Source and photo: Sky News.