‘My apology is to today’s Indigenous victims’
Senator Pauline Hanson has blasted cancel culture for leaving both sides of politics too afraid to tackle the high rates at which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are being abused, saying "we have much more to be sorry for" by not removing at-risk Indigenous children from unsafe households.
In a provocative speech on the anniversary of the national apology to the Stolen Generations, Senator Hanson said today "it shames us as a nation" that Indigenous children were not treated the same as non-Indigenous children for fear of accusations of creating a new Stolen Generation.
Senator Hanson, who recounted her own visits to remote Aboriginal communities, said the country should "never accept or condone the removal of children from family based on race".
According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies child protection data, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children remained over represented in child protection and out-of-home care services.
The data shows Indigenous children were 6.5 times more likely to be the subject of substantiated reports of harm or risk of harm than non-Indigenous children, while they were 11 times more likely to be in out-of-home care.
Senator Hanson said both sides of politics were afraid of "cancel culture" when it came to dealing with the issues, instead of "rapid and empowering solutions".
"I've seen how children are repeatedly returned to parents who persistently abuse or neglect them," she said.
"My apology is to today's Indigenous victims.
"The ones who live with and suffer from the horrors of child molesters. I'm saying sorry to the Aboriginal children who should be spending their first few weeks in Prep or primary school, but their parents simply don't care enough to get them there.
"I'm also sorry for those Indigenous kids who have never been tucked into bed by loving parents but are instead ignored by those who are too busy drinking to worry where their kids are late at night."
Senator Hanson said she wanted to help "create champions out of Indigenous children".
"We must remain colour blind to ensure the safety and upbringing of all our children, no matter their skin colour," she said.
"And we must call out the cowardice and manipulation of the truth-denying elites who seek to keep any group of Australians trapped in a permanent victimhood."
The Australian Institute of Family Studies states on its website: "Rates of children in OOHC for both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous children have continued to increase between 2014 and 2018," its website states.
It states when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are placed into child protection placement priority is first within the child's family, then their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island community, then other Indigenous carers, with non-Indigenous carers as a last resort.
Her speech follow statements to Parliament from both Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, 13 years on from then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's historic apology.
Mr Morrison said the Stolen Generation, sanctioned by the state, had caused "endless pain that cascaded through generations".
"Children forcibly removed from parents. Mothers chasing after police cars that had taken their children," he said.
"A state that seized absolute control over Aboriginal people's lives: where they could live, where they could travel, who they could marry, and what children, if any, they could raise.
"Actions of brute force carried out under claims of 'good intentions', but in truth betrayed the ignorance of arrogance, 'knowing better than our Indigenous peoples'."
Mr Albanese said in his address there were still troubling statistics regarding the removal of Indigenous children from their homes.
"Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander represent 33 per cent of the total population of all children removed from their parents, but they represent just 6 per cent of our total child population," he said.
"If we do not address these, not least in mental health and incarceration rates, the gaps will only widen and we will have the makings of another apology in the future."
Originally published as 'My apology is to today's Indigenous victims'