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!