One of Australia’s most prominent Indigenous journalists has hailed One Nation leader Pauline Hanson’s expulsion from the Today show but lamented the “virtue-signalling” attention given to calls to pull down statues ahead of tangible improvements to Indigenous Australians’ lives.
Brooke Boney, Today’s entertainment reporter and a Gamilaroi Gomeroi woman, said she was not offended by statues of historical figures with views considered racist by current standards, mildly offended by off-colour TV shows, and would prefer not to encounter products like Coon Cheese. But, she said, that debate was a “massive distraction”.
“I would much rather that we were talking about things that actually make a difference in the lives of Aboriginal people, things like early childhood education rates, things like incarceration rates, things like justice reinvestment, that are actually helpful and not just virtue-signalling,” Boney said.
Appearing on the ABC’s Q+A with Boney, former Liberal defence minister Christopher Pyne drew a distinction between statues of historical figures whose fame stemmed from racist exploits and others who held racist views but were known for unrelated achievements.