Australians claiming to be Aboriginal will be forced to undergo DNA testing to prove it under a One Nation proposal to crack down on welfare fraud
- One Nation’s Mark Latham wants indigenous recognition to be based on DNA
- Someone would only be indigenous if they had at least a ‘full-blood’ grandparent
- ‘Everybody hates a welfare rorter, especially in Aboriginal affairs,’ he said
Australians claiming to be Aboriginal would be forced to undergo DNA testing under a One Nation policy designed to stamp out welfare fraud.
One Nation’s New South Wales leader Mark Latham has taken aim at people who identify as indigenous, when they are not of Aboriginal heritage.
‘Everybody hates a welfare rorter, especially in Aboriginal affairs,’ he said.
Australians claiming to be Aboriginal would be forced to undergo DNA testing under a One Nation policy designed to stamp out welfare fraud (pictured is One Nation leader Pauline Hanson, left, with the party’s New South Wales leader Mark Latham)
‘Australians are sick and tired of seeing people with blonde hair and blue eyes declaring themselves to be indigenous, when clearly they have no recognisable Aboriginal background and are doing it solely to qualify for extra money.’
In Australia, people can identify as indigenous to be given special treatment when applying for jobs in the public service or the ABC, as part of an affirmative action policy designed to promote one minority group.
They also qualify for special benefits, including Abstudy to fund university study or an apprenticeship, and can join an Aboriginal land council.
Mr Latham has proposed a law which would require Aboriginality to be determined by a DNA test showing someone has at least one full-blood Aboriginal grandparent, ending a system where Australians can self-identify as indigenous.
Mr Latham said many indigenous people lived in poverty (Maningrida community in Arnhem Land pictured) as people claimed Aboriginal status to get welfare benefits
‘The system of indigenous self-identification, declaring Aboriginality without any bloodline or DNA proof, has been open to widespread abuse,’ he said.
‘It is being used as a fraudulent way of cashing in on welfare benefits, special Aboriginal programs and land council largesse.’
Mr Latham said genuine indigenous people continue to live in poverty.
‘Any waste of taxpayer funds in this area is highly disrespectful to genuine indigenous,’ he said.
‘It weakens the integrity of their racial group and takes money away from people in genuine need.
‘We believe in an honest and fair welfare system.
‘First Australians deserve the respect of stopping rorters and opportunists from masquerading as indigenous.’
While indigenous recognition is largely a federal issue, the NSW public service has an Aboriginal employment strategy and administers indigenous land councils.
Mr Latham has proposed a law which would require Aboriginality to be determined by a DNA test showing someone has at least one full-blood Aboriginal grandparent (pictured as Aboriginal men at Alice Springs in central Australia)
As federal Labor leader in 2004, Mr Latham backed then Prime Minister John Howard’s dismantling of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.
Almost 15 years later, as One Nation’s leader upper house candidate in the NSW election, he has savaged his former party for failing to tackle fraudulent claims of being Aboriginal.
‘It’s surprising that Labor and The Greens, who pretend to respect Aboriginality, have not introduced this policy already,’ Mr Latham said.
Indigenous people were not counted in the Census or even regarded as citizens with voting rights until a 1967 referendum passed with 90.77 per cent support.
A few years later during the early 1970s, Gough Whitlam’s Labor government introduced a policy of indigenous self-determination.
Indigenous land rights activist Noel Pearson has criticised the prevailing system of ‘passive welfare’ which originated under Mr Whitlam, who Mr Latham worked for as a former prime minister during the 1980s.