It’s been a while since Pauline Hanson felt the need to make a public statement on what she does and does not believe should get to live in Australia, but barely more than a week into the new year she’s finally broken that welcome silence.
Now she would like to turn our nation’s children and unemployed into bounty hunters. And they will be hunting the deadliest game of all: the wily cane toad.
Cane toads are an invasive species who have done little good for our environment after being introduced to eat pests in sugar cane by people who, like Hanson, didn’t think their plans through before enthusiastically implementing them.
Citing previous bounties which Australian governments put on things like rabbits and foxes and thylacines, she’s now suggesting that the nation needs to look to the past as a lesson for the future. Frog The Bounty Hunter, anyone? Anyone? Alright, fine.
“A 10 cent reward for the collection of each cane toad… would encourage most Australians living with the pest to take an active role in reducing their numbers until a biological measure is developed,” she reportedly wrote in a letter to the Prime Minister.
The plan will also supposedly get kids off “their iPads” as they ditch the sterile emptiness of electronic communication for the visceral thrill of amphibian murder.
There are a few problems with the plan, though. One is that 10 cents a toad head means even the most assiduous Bufo Fett will struggle to make more than a couple of dollars an hour, which is a decent amount below any sort of living wage.
There’s also the fairly important fact that it won’t work.
This idea is not new and has been looked into in the past, and the stumbling point is that cane toads spawn more quickly and voluminously than even the notoriously swift-breeding bunny. Some sort of water-sifting tadpole squisher would be more useful if de-toadification was the ultimate aim.
And then there’s the question of how such a scheme would be carried out, who would receive and tally the toads, and also what the actual hell the government would be expected to do after buying thousands upon thousands of dead toads every day.
Also, that the only way to get today’s kids involved would be to market it as Fortnite IRL: Toad Mode.
And just as an aside, isn’t it weird seeing one of the nation’s most consistent climate change deniers developing a keen interest in protecting the environment all of a sudden?
Even so, expect to see “I believe that Australia is in danger of being swamped by cane toads” cited in her pre-election material.