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Mark Latham got what he wanted out of his absurd proposal to DNA test Aboriginal people

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16.03.2019

It’s difficult to discern the extent this week’s policy proposal from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation regarding DNA tests for Aboriginality is a genuinely held belief or more political hokum from an increasingly weird party.

With the face of the proposal being assigned to the embattled party’s latest recruit in the failed former Labor Party leader Mark Latham, it really could go either way.

Regardless, Latham’s campaign for an upper-house seat in the March 23 New South Wales state election was provided with plenty of publicity when he announced One Nation would demand DNA testing of Aboriginal people claiming welfare payments.

The initial failure of our mainstream media to interrogate the policy after it was announced has also contributed to the “vocal” support it has since received on social media. Surprised? Well, by now you shouldn’t be.

Don’t forget the manoeuvre is from the same mob who put forward the “It’s Okay to Be White” motion in the federal Senate in October last year, that slogan – sourced directly from internet trolls and white supremacists – was only narrowly defeated 31-28, despite support from government senators.

The government’s leader in the upper house, Mathias Cormann, afterwards described the vote as “severely embarrassing” and attributed it to an “administrative error”, before a second Senate vote was held to save face.

It might be said that a similar “administrative error” gripped our traditional newspaper outlets and morning television programs earlier this week when they reported on the policy as a genuine proposal.

Perhaps the absurdity of the policy was both too ridiculous and sensational to warrant serious contemplation, or wilful........

© The Guardian