I must admit that to me they seem simply absurd. Who is entitled to welcome whom? It's normally the person who owns or controls a place who has a right to welcome people to it. But these "welcomes" are never from such people. It's just some sort of virtue claim, some empty claim to being supportive of Aborigines
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has demanded a ban on Welcome to Country rituals in the wake of the referendum defeat for the Voice to Parliament.
She said she wanted to hold leading Voice architect Professor Marcia Langton to her vow made in April that a No vote would end her performances of the ceremony.
'We can only hope this promise is lived up to,' said senator Hanson in a post on X of a speech she was unable to give in Parliament because of a censure motion.
'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.
'Australians – including many Indigenous people – are sick and tired of them. They are sick of being told Australia is not their country.'
The Queensland senator had been silenced in Parliament after offering to drive Greens senator Mahreen Faruqi 'to the airport' if she 'didn't love Australia'. Senator Hanson later withdrew her remarks about Senator Faruqi.
Senator Hanson's planned speech was instead delivered in Parliament by One Nation colleague Malcolm Roberts and published online by senator Hanson.
'There was some controversy in the Senate that resulted in my right to speak in the chamber being temporarily revoked by the Labor Government, with the support of the Greens,' she posted on social media.
'This happened due to comments I made during a debate where I criticised the Greens for their apologist stance toward Islamic extremist terrorism.
'As a consequence, I was unable to deliver a speech I had prepared.'
In her planned speech, she railed against the Indigenous ceremonies and branded them a modern invention which had been dismissed as 'divisive' by some Aboriginal leaders.
She said the referendum result should bring an end to them all, including both Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country ceremonies.
'It was more than a rejection of the voice,' she said. '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.'
Senator Hanson added that the idea of Indigenous nations pre-existing before British colonisation was a fake idea imported from overseas.
'Welcomes and acknowledgements deny the citizenship and sovereignty held equally by all Australians,' she said.
'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.
'It’s not even an genuine pre-settlement ritual for most Aborigines. It was invented in 1976 by Ernie Dingo and Richard Walley.'
She said South Australian Narungga elder and No campaigner Kerry White said the rituals should only be for Indigenous people welcoming other Indigenous people to their land.
'She said its use by non-indigenous Australians was just virtue-signalling,' said the senator. 'She wasn’t wrong about the virtue-signalling, that’s for sure.
'She even said ‘welcomes to country’ were an attack on Indigenous culture.
'Another indigenous leader of the ‘no’ campaign, Senator Naminjimpa Price, who said recently that welcomes to country were “definitely divisive”.'
Professor Langton - who helped draw up the Voice to Parliament proposal - said in April that non-Indigenous Australians would be 'unable to look her in the eye' if the Voice referendum returned a No vote.
'How are they going to ever ask an Indigenous person, a Traditional Owner, for a welcome to country?' she said.
'How are they ever going to be able to ask me to come and speak at their conference?
'If they have the temerity to do it, of course the answer is going to be no.'
Sentator Hanson said last month's vote showed it was now the moment to take Professor Langton at her word and for all arms of government to stop the ceremonies.
'It’s time to leave Indigenous rituals to Indigenous Australians,' she said. 'We call for an end to welcomes and acknowledgements of country.
'Stop signalling virtue you don’t possess and stop dividing this country by abusing these Indigenous rituals.
'We know that for many, the promise of an end to them motivated their no vote at the referendum.
'Australians don’t want them. Let’s move forward together as one people, one nation under one flag.'