Don't pigeonhole us: Indigenous senator

·2-min read

A Liberal Party senator has warned Australians against pigeonholing all Indigenous people.

South Australian senator Kerrynne Liddle has used her first speech to call for a rejection of unanimity and cancel culture.

The Indigenous senator spoke in support of the cashless debit card and warned against the government banning its use on the basis of a "philosophical objection".

"Rather than unleashing the rivers of alcohol and drugs and with it more associated abuse and neglect, how about ridding our communities of the miscreants, pretenders, controllers and rescuers; leave them nowhere to hide or thrive," Senator Liddle said.

Channelling the words of Neville Bonner, the first Indigenous person to enter federal parliament, Senator Liddle says she wants to avoid an undue amount of focus on race.

"I get angry when others seek to define me firstly or only by race and I know from experience it is getting worse," she said.

"I was not an Indigenous news reporter, nor an Indigenous business woman or an Indigenous company board director. First and foremost I am just me," she said.

"So I look forward to objecting loudly to naval-gazing, paternalism, box ticking, quasi-consultation, silly reporting that returns little value and ideas that fail to provide evidence of change."

The senator also called for a more tolerant society where people aren't afraid to admit when they've got it wrong.

"I want our country to think different, act different, demand different, push away from the pressure of sameness, the rejection of discourse, the perils of group think," she said.

"Reject over-policing of language, cancel culture and aggressive social media commentary.

"All that does is conjure ridicule, creates fear and stifles our potential to do better."

Senator Liddle says she stands for smaller government, accountability, strong borders, equality and a measured approach to tackling climate change "that considers diversity and how people are affected differently and disproportionately".

"Common sense beats the emotional, the hysterical on every issue, every time," she said.