Australia’s far-right leader returns to senate with Islamophobic diatribe
SYDNEY // Pauline Hanson, founder of Australia’s far-right One Nation party, used her first speech in parliament in almost two decades on Wednesday to warn Australia was in danger of being swamped by Muslims.
Twenty years after saying Australia was at risk of being overrun by Asians, Ms Hanson told those unwilling to give the nation their undivided loyalty to “go back where you came from”.
“Now we are in danger of being swamped by Muslims who bear a culture and ideology that is incompatible with our own,” she told the senate in Canberra
As she spoke, Greens leader Richard Di Natale walked out with his party colleagues.
“Racism has no place in Parliament but that is what we have just heard from Senator Hanson. I stand with those people hurt by her words,” he tweeted.
Ms Hanson’s One Nation party won four seats in the Senate on strong backing for her long list of anti-Muslim policies in the July polls, marking a comeback for a woman whose populist views caused a stir in Asia during her first divisive political stint in the late 1990s.
She used her first speech to parliament since being re-elected to declare: “I’m back”.
Ms Hanson said that while Australia had embraced migrants from all over the world, many of whom had integrated into society, Islam had had an impact on Australia like no other religion.
“Islam can not have a significant presence in Australia if we are to live in an open, secular and cohesive society,” said Ms Hanson, who famously ditched her fish and chip shop to represent Queensland ahead of her first foray into national parliament.
Warning that if changes were not made now, “there will be no hope in the future”, she called for an end to Muslim immigration and a ban on the burqa.
“In addition, no more mosques or schools should be built and those that already exist should be monitored in regards to what they are teaching until the present crisis is over.”
Ms Hanson left parliament when she lost her seat in 1998 and quit as One Nation’s leader in 2002. But she returned to lead the party in 2014 after a 12-year hiatus, a period during which she was jailed for several months for electoral fraud before her sentence was quashed.
Her decision to return paid off in July, as voters disillusioned with the ruling conservatives and opposition Labor voted her and three others from her party into the Senate.
She won significant support with a high-profile campaign that included a call to ban new mosques and Muslim immigration and implement protectionist trade policies.
She also used her speech to denounce Chinese ownership of Australian assets.
“Any foreign ownership is regrettable, but why are we allowing the Chinese government, an oppressive communist regime, to own our assets?” Ms Hanson said.
Published: September 14, 2016 04:00 AM