A former Australian Member of Parliament has caused outrage after comparing pregnant indigenous women to “cash cows.” Talking to the Bolt Report, an Australian political discussion show, Gary Johns said “a lot of poor women in this country, a large portion of whom are Aboriginal, are used as cash cows right, they are kept pregnant and producing children for the cash. Now that has to stop.” His comments came during a discussion about giving constitutional recognition to indigenous people, in response to statistics from a report by Aboriginal Housing Victoria, which showed that indigenous women were 34 times more likely to suffer from domestic violence. On social media, people immediately took Johns to task for his racist and offensive remarks. Speaking to Buzzfeed, Labor Senator Nova Peris, Australia’s first indigenous woman elected to federal parliament, expressed disgust at John’s comment, saying, “I’m getting sick and tired of supposedly educated people making these insulting and degrading remarks about Aboriginal people. It’s disappointing that a former MP, who is feeling the pinch of irrelevance, can only get media attention by degrading Aboriginal women and mothers, and all women generally.” Senator Peris believes that Johns is “deliberately muddying the waters” on the very serious issue of constitutional recognition for indigenous people in Australia. Peris is seeking to remove clauses that allow the government to pass discriminatory legislation against Aboriginal people, arguing that it is “a national shame that these clauses still exist.”
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