WA MP’s comments labelled racist
WA MHR Dennis Jensen is under fire for alleged racism towards indigenous people after comments made in Federal Parliament last month.
The Liberal MP referred to Aboriginal people living in remote communities as “noble savages” and repeated former prime minister Tony Abbott’s infamous “lifestyle choices” comment. “There should be no definition of what it is to be Aboriginal any more than say an Irish-Australian should have a definition and a percentage of Irish blood that he or she should have in order to be described as Irish-Australian,” Dr Jensen said.
“In essence, if the noble savage lifestyle, a la Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the same one often eulogised, is true, then there is nothing stop- ping any indigenous men or women from pursuing such an existence on their own.
“Just do not expect the taxpayers to subsidise it.”
When asked during Question Time, Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion described Dr Jensen’s comments as “unhelpful”.
Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said Dr Jensen had displayed ignorance of Aboriginal culture and tradition. “West Australians will find it extremely uncomfortable that such remarks are considered acceptable by Dennis Jensen,who represents the WA federal seat of Tangney,” she said.
“For Dr Jensen to try to re-open this discussion achieves nothing other than reaffirming how discriminatory the dinosaurs of the coalition can be.
“In terms of Dr Jensen’s view that there should be no ‘specific indigenous policy’, I would like to point out that entrenched disadvantage spans decades and the gap in life expectancy will not close unless we specifically address the issue.”
Greens Member for Mining and Pastoral Robin Chapple said Dr Jensen’s comments were “racism in the extreme”.