Please Explain: Pauline Hanson’s Breathtaking Bigotry Helps #DefineAboriginal


It’s no secret that social media – Twitter in particular – is a toxic sea of feel-pinions, dominated by ranting, foaming angry people.

But every now and then, it throws up something worth feeling inspired by (if not simultaneously also very ashamed).

This week is one such occasion.

On Monday night, One Nation leader Pauline Hanson appeared on The Bolt Report on Sky News. In doing so, she achieved what was previously though impossible… lowering the general banality of the show.

Hanson complained that there is “no definition of Aboriginal”. Which is a remarkable statement, given there has long been a definition of Aboriginal.

For the record it’s this: 1. You must identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander; 2. You must have Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage; and 3 (and most importantly) You must be accepted by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Not particularly complicated, but complicated enough, apparently, to send the synapses of thousands of white Australians misfiring.

In response, Ryan Griffen, the creator of the thoroughly excellent ABC TV series Cleverman tweeted this:

The rest, as they say, is history. What followed was a flood of Aboriginal and Torres Islander people ‘defining Aboriginal’, by detailing the racism that they stare down every day. The hashtag is still going off this morning, but here’s just a taste of what ‘fighting ignorance’ looks like… and, sadly, what being black in Australia feels like. 

Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.