Time to give up the ‘Welcome to Country’ 

There was some controversy in the Senate Wednesday that resulted in Pauline Hanson’s right to speak in the chamber being temporarily revoked by the Labor Government, with the support of the Greens. This happened due to comments she made during a debate where she criticised the Greens for their apologist stance toward Islamic extremist terrorism. 

Consequently, she could not deliver a prepared speech, which called for an end to the excessive use of acknowledgments and welcomes to country. 

Fortunately, One Nation and Pauline Hanson has a strong backup in Senator Malcolm Roberts, who was able to deliver the speech and instigate this debate on her behalf. 

Even when they attempt to silence one voice, they cannot silence all of us. The will of the people will always find a way to be heard. 

Here are the prepared remarks had intended to deliver: 

I would like to congratulate the Australian people for their overwhelming rejection of the divisive voice to Parliament at the October referendum. 

However, it was more than a rejection of the voice. 

It was a rejection of the entire Uluru Statement—all 26 pages of it. 

It was a rejection of a treaty and truth-telling – or more accurately, a re-write of history with an eye on financial settlements funded by non-indigenous taxpayers. 

It was a rejection of identity politics, grievance politics and the activist cult of victimhood. 

And primarily, it was a rejection of racial division. 

And one of the most racially divisive features of modern discourse in Australia is welcome to country ceremonies, along with acknowledgements of country. 

Australians – including many indigenous people – are sick and tired of them. 

They are sick of being told Australia is not their country, which is what these things effectively do. 

Welcomes and acknowledgements deny the citizenship and sovereignty held equally by all Australians. 

They perpetuate the falsehood that prior to 1788, nations existed on this continent. 

They didn’t. 

This is a foreign notion, an activist device imported from Canada that does not reflect the reality of Australian history. 

I remind the Senate of the promise made by leading voice campaigner Marcia Langton who promised no more ‘welcomes to country’ if the voice was rejected. 

We can only hope this promise is lived up to. 

Federal taxpayers forked out at least 45,000 dollars for these rituals the previous financial year, although I understand the figure could be much higher as not every government department has come clean on what they spend. 

It’s not even an genuine pre-settlement ritual for most aborigines. 

It was invented in 1976 by Ernie Dingo and Richard Walley. 

I acknowledge Narungga elder Kerry White from South Australia, a great contributor to the ‘no’ campaign, who said these rituals are not even being used correctly. 

She said last year that it should be reserved for indigenous people welcoming other indigenous people to local country, and that its use by non-indigenous Australians was just virtue-signalling. 

She wasn’t wrong about the virtue-signalling, that’s for sure. 

Ms White said: 

“…they’ve taken our ceremonial process and demeaned it by throwing it out there every day in every aspect of what Australian people do. And I think that is culturally wrong.” 

She even said ‘welcomes to country’ were an attack on indigenous culture. 

I also acknowledge another indigenous leader of the ‘no’ campaign, Senator Naminjimpa Price, who said recently that ‘welcomes to country’ were “definitely divisive”. 

I’m confident I speak for the majority of Australians in saying I wish Professor Langton had included acknowledgements of country too. 

They’re recited at the beginning of every parliamentary sitting day, every council meeting, and every zoom meeting held by public servants. 

We hear them at the conclusion of every domestic flight – you can hear the groans in the cabin every time. 

They have effectively lost all meaning for their constant repetition. 

To foster national unity, and to help put an end to racial division in this country, it’s time to leave indigenous rituals to indigenous Australians. 

One Nation is supremely confident we speak for the majority of all Australians regardless of race when we call for an end to welcomes and acknowledgements of country. 

We know that for many, the promise of an end to them motivated their no vote at the referendum. 

We call on this Parliament, all other Australian parliaments, all government departments, and every local government in this nation, to stop signalling virtue you don’t possess and stop dividing this country by abusing these indigenous rituals. 

Australians don’t want them. 

Australians don’t want racial division, and they said that most emphatically on 14 October at the referendum. 

Let’s move forward together as one people, one nation under one flag.