One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has called for a ban on Welcome to Country rituals following the defeat of the Voice to Parliament referendum. In a speech that she was unable to deliver in Parliament, Hanson criticized the constant repetition of these ceremonies, stating they have effectively lost meaning and are divisive. She argued that many Australians, including Indigenous people, are tired of these rituals and being told that Australia is not their country.
Hanson highlighted that the referendum result not only rejected the call for a Voice to Parliament but also discredited the entire Uluru Statement. According to Hanson, the concept of Indigenous nations pre-existing British colonization is a foreign notion imported from Canada and does not reflect Australian history. She pointed out that Welcome to Country ceremonies were invented in 1976 and are not even a genuine pre-settlement ritual for most Aboriginal people.
The One Nation leader cited Indigenous leaders who have spoken out against the widespread use of these ceremonies. Kerry White, a South Australian Narungga elder and No campaigner, suggested that welcomes to country should be reserved for Indigenous people welcoming other Indigenous people to their land. Another Indigenous leader, Senator Naminjimpa Price, called these rituals divisive. Hanson argued that the referendum outcome revealed that many Australians voted against the Voice proposal because they opposed these rituals.
Pauline Hanson called for an end to Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country ceremonies, stating that they should be left to Indigenous Australians. She urged all arms of the government to stop these ceremonies in order to move forward together as one people, one nation under one flag.