Hanson: What is ‘Aboriginal’?

One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson has claimed that Australia doesn’t have a definition of what it means to be an Aboriginal person and that this raises issues about equality and freedom of speech.

In an interview with Andrew Bolt on Sky News on Monday, Senator Hanson claimed that the lack of an official definition meant almost anyone, including non-indigenous people, can claim to be Aboriginal – a label she believes carries certain social and political power.

“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,” she said.

Her comments follow an altercation with Noel Pearson in 2009, during which she claims he referred to her in a sexually degrading way, making references to her being ‘white’.

Senator Hanson, who is a strong advocate of free speech, is calling for changes to the Racial Discrimination Act. Section 18C of the Act makes it illegal to behave in way that is likely to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate” a person because of their race or ethnicity.

Senator Hanson, along with other Coalition Senators, is pushing to have the words “offend” and “insult” removed from the Act.

She believes Australians have become too politically correct.

“I think that people need to toughen up a bit, we’ve all become so precious,” she said. “If I was going to come out with something extreme, like Noel Pearson has with regards to this, well then the people will judge us, the people will have their say, and I’ll be shut down by the public. I don’t need someone sitting in their office making their determination, I’ll let the people judge me before that.

“I’ve raised issues about equality over the years, whether you’re Aboriginal or non-Aboriginal and I’ll be asking the question ‘what defines an Aboriginal?

“I think the whole lot needs to be opened up, a big debate on this and to say that you’re humiliated or intimidated, where does it stop?” she said.

In the 1980s, changes to legislation on the definition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stated: “An Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander is a person of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent who identifies as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and is accepted as such by the community in which he [or she] lives.”

What do you think? Have we become too politically correct? Does the current legislation compromise our freedom of speech? Would loosening the legislation allow more people to voice their opinions or would it simply cause more trouble?

Read more at theaustralian.com.au

Read more at news.com.au

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