Senate debates

Monday, 19 June 2023


Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee; Reference

5:15 pm

Photo of Pauline HansonPauline Hanson (Queensland, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party) Share this | | Hansard source

In continuation of my remarks: what I want the Senate to approve is to have an inquiry into Aboriginal identity fraud. The Labor Party is in denial and have clearly stated they don't believe there is identity fraud. Now, I have named a few cases and I believe that there is identity fraud, as we've seen, and I've pointed out to them that there are federal cases in law that there is definitely identity fraud.

What I keep coming back to all the time is the number of people who are jumping on the bandwagon, claiming Aboriginality, because the three-part definition is weak; it is not strong enough to stop identity fraud. As I said, people are claiming to be Aboriginal, clearly, for cheaper home loans and business loans; they're claiming Aboriginality.

If you go back to the 1971 first census, there were just about 116,000 people who claimed to be Aboriginal on that census; by 1996, it was 265,000; and, in 2016, you were looking at around 250,000. Yet, in the last one, it had increased, from that time, 25.2 per cent, and the rest of the population had increased only eight per cent with immigration. So a lot of people are ticking the box. Why it's important also is: this is not investigated, because we go on the census to give funding to these Aboriginal communities or Aboriginal people, and a lot of these Aboriginal organisations get their funding purely based on the census and how many people are claiming Aboriginality. A lot of people are claiming it and ticking the box because they're incensed and furious that you are giving out funding to people purely based on their race, not on their need. And that's why people are furious about it.

That's why people are furious also about the Voice—a voice to parliament for less than three per cent of the population. Native title claimants have to go through a process to make a native title claim. There are about 400,000 to 430,000 people that have been approved as native title claimants, with a connection to the land going back prior to 1788, that can make the claim. Why don't we have that same test? No, you don't want it. And you're actually shutting down debate in this place or an investigation into it—an inquiry—because you don't want this to be out in the open.

Labor, I've got to say, didn't want me to stand up today and talk about this further. You wanted to shut it down. You don't want the people to know the truth as to what is actually happening. You're deceptive. You lie to the people. You are not upfront in telling the truth of the matter, with many things.

I got up in this parliament and I called today for the production of documents to do with the disability scheme. Yet you did not allow me to get those documents, which, again, could prove fraud, misappropriation of moneys and corruption. You shut it down, because you're in denial. You don't want the truth to come out. Yet you put the onus on other departments—on everyone else—to have accountability.

When the Prime Minister took up the position, he said: 'I will have accountability.' Well, you have not proven it in this chamber. You've covered up so much. You're not interested in being upfront with the Australian people.

It's the same with identity fraud. It's out there—you know it is—but you're in denial and you say it's not, because you don't want to have an inquiry into it, to expose what is going on in this country. You're all about the Voice to Parliament, because you don't want anything to disrupt that—what you're telling the people.

As I said, you have this Sri Lankan fellow and 100 members of his extended family practising this deception for more than 30 years, who've received millions of dollars worth of benefits, including through housing loans, business loans, study grants, employment preferences and legal assistance. You have the NIAA; $4.5 billion a year is given to them. There's over a billion dollars in grants in one year—2021-22. That's 1,500 grants given out, worth $1.03 billion in one year. There's no investigation into these grants and people. Even the staff of the NIAA never kept their skills. They really, truly should have jobs as investigators.

So the people applying for the grants are not thoroughly investigated. You've given them further grants; you don't follow up and see if the jobs have been done; you are not accountable to the Australian people; and you scream out and cry about many issues in this chamber. We're short for money. I've got to tell you: you've run up another debt. In four years, you've run up the deficit by another $110 billion, and you're still not accountable. So why aren't you accountable? Why can't you be honest with the people?

As I said, as to the fraud, in 2012 the actor Jack Charles applied to the federal government's arts funding body, the Australia Council for the Arts, for a grant to write a book about his life. He had been working in theatre since 1971 and also had some roles in minor documentaries and feature films. Like most actors, Charles thought he was a famous person who would not need to establish his identity. So, when the Australia Council followed its protocol and asked him to prove his Aboriginality so that it could properly consider his funding application, he was deeply offended. He made this as widely known as he could, especially to a sympathetic news media. The resulting publicity quickly caused the Australia Council to cave in, not only in Charles's case but for all other Aboriginal applicants too. It changed its protocols so that, since then, when Aboriginal people are applying for grants, they have not been required to prove their ethnic identity. That was from the Federal Court. He applied to the Federal Court. So that's exactly what I've been saying all along. That's why it is imperative.

As I said to you before, you've even hailed Bruce Pascoe's Dark Emu as true: 'My god, this book is so true.' This man who has claimed to be an Aboriginal has got no Aboriginality at all—none, not a smidgen—and you hold him up as if he's the bee's knees. Is he going to be one of the people who's going to be elected to actually be the Voice to Parliament—a non-Indigenous person? Is that what you really want?

Why shouldn't these people prove who they are and their Indigenous connection to the land? But it shouldn't be about that. As I said in 1996, what we should be talking about is equality for all Australians, regardless of what your race is. It should be on a needs basis. You are dividing this nation. You're pushing for a voice, but I'll tell you what: what I'm hearing is that it's not going to get up. The people are not being fooled by this. They're starting to realise that they've been deceived and have not been told the truth. They are asking, 'Why are you so determined to put it in the Constitution so that it can't be removed?' Even your own senator, Senator Polley, said, 'We want to put it in the Constitution so that it can't be removed.' There are a few senators that don't mean to say these things but are putting out a clear message to the people. I will keep informing the people. It is a deception.

These people—these black activists—are people with their own agendas and people who have screamed out the loudest, as if they're so hard done by. No, they're not hard done by. They've been given opportunities in this country that they would never have had if it wasn't for white settlement here in this nation. These people have become professors. Look at Marcia Langton and look at what Noel Pearson has achieved. Look at what a lot of these people have. Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, someone who I respect immensely, is a person who is in this place on her own merits. It's the same that you get from Senator McCarthy and Senator Dodson—all these people on their own merits—and yet you can't even answer the question: do you intend to put aside seats in this parliament for only black senators? That's what it's going to be about.

It's disgraceful what you intend to do here. Why don't you be upfront with the people? What have you got to hide? Why not have a Senate inquiry into it and prove there is no identity fraud? What is wrong with that? Why can't you answer the Australian people? Because you don't want to. You know the truth will come out, and you don't know how to deal with it. That's why you didn't even allow me the first reading speech on my bill to address Australian aboriginality and Indigenous identity in this nation. You are too weak, too gutless, to actually face up to the Australian people and be truthful and honest. But that's the Labor Party through and through. I've seen it for many years in this place. You say one thing one minute and do something totally different the next. You're deceptive to the Australian people. I'll keep calling you out as much as I possibly can. I will prove to the Australian people that they should vote no to this. They should demand answers. They should ask what your hidden agenda is for this nation.

I call on the Australian people to please look at it wisely. Gather your information. Forget about the motions and the whole lot saying they were the first people here. Whether I was born here, whether you were born here or whether you migrated here, they have no more right to this land than what I or you do—no more right and no more connection to this land than anyone else and especially the people who have fought for what we have today, our freedom.

5:26 pm

Photo of Carol BrownCarol Brown (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party, Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That the question be now put.

Photo of Sue LinesSue Lines (President) Share this | | Hansard source

The question is that the motion moved by Senator Brown, that the question be put, be agreed to.

5:35 pm

Photo of Sue LinesSue Lines (President) Share this | | Hansard source

PRESIDENT (): The question is that the motion moved by Senator Hanson be agreed to.