Bleats

One Nation Are Planning To Force DNA Testing On Indigenous Folks Because Policies Are Hard

People talk about racial profiling like it's a bad thing, because it is.

Let’s be honest: being in a political party is often difficult and boring. You’re expected to know all these big dumb numbers and statistics and how the economy works and stuff, and then be able to defend them when asked questions. So it’s loads easier to just punch down at minorities.

And ever since Pauline Hanson’s memorable debut speech warning that Australia would be “swamped by Asians” that’s been the general policy framework of One Nation.

NSW party leader and cautionary example Mark Latham announced plans to enact mandatory DNA testing for First Australians, declaring that “rorters and opportunists were masquerading as Indigenous”.

“Australians are sick and tired of seeing people with blonde hair and blue eyes declaring themselves to be Indigenous, when clearly they have no recognisable Aboriginal background and are doing it solely to qualify for extra money,” the party’s policy statement implausibly states.

“We will tighten the eligibility rules for Aboriginal identity to require DNA evidence of at least 25 per cent Indigenous – the equivalent of one fully Aboriginal grandparent.”

Now, there are a few things about this particularly Germany-of-the-late-1930s-themed idea which might give one pause. But two jump out: one, it’s not remotely possible – and two, that it’s not something which One Nation NSW can do in any case.

As Ms Liddle accurately says above, there’s no comprehensive database of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander DNA since the different groups are often small, geographically diffuse and also historically no-one’s cared enough to collect them for reasons at which you can probably take an accurate guess.

And secondly,  this is a federal issue, not a state one. Indigenous Affairs is a federal portfolio and most income support – Centrelink, pensions, the NDIS and so on – are also federal. And Latham, former federal Labor leader, presumably knows this and hopes that you don’t.

Anyway, by promising a non-existent solution to a non-issue over which they have no jurisdiction in any case, One Nation again show their assiduous commitment to dealing with big, non-made-up issues. Thanks, team!

Politicians Are Decking One Another In The Halls Of Parliament So Happy Valentine's Day, Canberra

Just when you think that your opinion of our elected officials couldn't get any lower…

It feels like ages since some bizarre story involving One Nation exploded onto the national headlines, so it’s actually kind of a relief to hear that a brawl broke out in Parliament House.

Yes, current and former members of One Nation – the party known for their quiet dignity and conciliatory approach to de-escalating internal conflict – had a punch up in the halls of Parliament House.

The combatants were former One Nation senator Brian Burston, who acrimoniously quit the party last year to sit as an independent for about 90 seconds before joining Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party, and Pauline Hanson’s helicopter pilot and chief of staff James Ashby.

And why were these former colleagues in the far-right trenches at each other’s throats? Well, strap yourself in for the sordid tales from the senate backbenches.

The flashpoint appears to have been a story which came out this week regarding a complaint made against Burston last year, where he allegedly offered “to “f—” a staff member to make her feel better” – about which party leader Pauline Hanson made claims in the Senate under parliamentary privilege.

Burston claimed that the story is false and rejected the idea that his high staff turnover was somehow connected with his behaviour. Hilariously, his spokesperson specifically denied the story on the grounds that Burston would never use the f-word. And, as though on cue, Burston then aggressively used it to a journalist from the Australian.

Anyway: it appears that Ashby then approached Burston and his wife in the halls of Parliament House after attending a dinner provided by the Minerals Council, and then… wait a second, the Minerals Council? So lobbyists are actually holding back-slapping events inside Parliament House? Is… is this a usual thing? When did we sign off on that?

Sorry: so Ashby was videoing the whole thing on his phone as he asked Burston about the allegations. And then it was on like Donkey Kong, if Donkey Kong was a game about a smug thirty-something getting a rise out of a 70 year old man.

Then, after the scuffle, a smear of what looks awfully like blood appeared on Hanson’s office door, amid denials from Burston that it was anything to do with him.

Then Burston returned fire with counter-allegations that he was the victim of sexual harassment from Hanson in a move which seemed somewhat abrupt. And Hanson – a pollie better known for her endless reserves of outrage than her rollicking sense of humour – genuinely laughed at the claim when asked about it on Sky News – delivering the deathless line “I might be 64 but I’m not that desperate.”

The matter is now being investigated by the president of the Senate and will probably not come to anything before Burston is condemned to the political wilderness at the next election.

But the important thing is: seriously, why the hell is the Minerals Council holding events in our federal parliament?

Honestly, do we need to talk about this? Who should we call?

UPDATE! Ashby’s Parliamentary pass has reportedly been revoked, so looks like Hanson might have a job going!

Trump Praised America's 'Abolition Of Civil Rights' As Something Of Which He's Especially Proud, In What Sounds Eerily Like Foreshadowing

Take heed, non-white people.

Another day, another weird thing said by history’s least articulate US president. And sure, it might seem like blasting away at barrel-fish, but it should be noted when the president of the United States claims that getting rid of civil rights – you know, that whole letting black people vote and stuff – was one of the biggest successes of people of faith in the US.

“Since the founding of our nation, many of our greatest strides – from gaining our independence to abolition of civil rights to extending the vote for women – have been led by people of faith,” the prez said at the National Prayer Breakfast.

Now, obviously it’s a mistake – although it’s not entirely clear what he meant to say. Presumably he wasn’t actually foreshadowing his strategy to win in 2020 by going to a pre-1965 legal framework for voting rights?

And sure, it’s not great that a man who has been linked with white supremacists and notoriously sluggish to condemn actual Nazis should make such a slip, But he’s not wrong either, technically.

Although civil rights was spearheaded by people of faith (Martin Luther King was a Baptist minister, for example, and the churches were absolutely pivotal to the movement). slavery was very popular with some outspoken people of faith – like Confederate leader Jefferson Davis who argued that slavery “was established by decree of Almighty God… it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation.”

So maybe that’s what Trump was getting at?

And Trump hasn’t issued a retraction a clarification or an angry Twitter denial, so we can only assume that he’s OK with what he said. It did, however, get quietly amended on the official White House website to “from gaining our independence, to abolition, [to] civil rights”, so presumably someone else went “um, we should probably not have this out in the world.”

They didn’t do anything about gussying uyp this exciting piece of word salad, though: “America’s potential is unlimited because our extraordinary people are just something that is number one, no matter where you go. We have people — they love our country and they love their faith.” Is… is that meant to make sense?

Anyway: in the old words of relationship counsellors the world over: when someone tells you who they really are, believe them.

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