One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has given a wide-ranging interview, expanding on her views on how her party has changed and where it stands on several issues.
Here are the key issues Pauline Hanson covered in an interviw with ABC TV’s Insiders on Sunday.
Pauline Hanson has criticised Islam – yet again – saying she believed it “hates” Western society and wants “to change us” in an interview with ABC TV’s Insiders.
“It is purporting to be a religion but I believe it is a political ideology who want to impose their Sharia law and impose their way of life and their thoughts, processes, on the rest of our society,” she said.
“They hate Western society. They want to change us. Do you want to be changed? Would you be happy under Islam?”
Hanson applauded former prime minister John Howard for cutting back immigration intakes in the mid-1990s, when she was first in parliament. She continues to believe the immigration program should be slashed further.
“If you are going to have different races that come into Australia, they’ve got to actually assimilate and blend into our society and become Australians,” she said, insisting that wasn’t happening in some areas and promising to “keep an eye on this”.
What’s changed over the past 20 years
Senior coalition MPs say Pauline Hanson and One Nation are more sophisticated, more evolved, and “a very different beast” than two decades ago.
“I think my policies haven’t changed over the years,” Hanson said.
“Immigration, again, I’m still the same – cut back on our immigration for our quality and way of life in Australia.”
What has changed, she says, is that she’s not just a lonely independent in the lower house. This time she’s on the influential Senate crossbench and has two One Nation companions (and likely a third once Rod Culleton’s vacant seat is re-filled).
“I don’t always get everything that I’d like to see happen but (Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull) is respectful to me and so is the other ministers that sit down and talk to me,” she said.
“I didn’t have that the last time around in the parliament; I was completely ignored. This time I’m treated with more respect.”
Hanson had a public reconciliation with the former prime minister soon after arriving back in parliament, after years of animosity between the pair. She says it came about because he sent her a congratulatory message. But has she forgiven him?
“I am like a bloody old elephant, I don’t forget what’s happened in the past. Never,” she said.
But she says it’s more important that she’s a senator and in a position to make decisions based on what she thinks is best for Australia and its people.
“If it means I talk to Tony Abbott or Malcolm Turnbull or Bill Shorten or anyone else to actually talk about these issues and find what’s right, I will do it,” she said.
“The prime minister is Malcolm Turnbull at the moment and I have a good rapport with the prime minister.”
“If a woman works eight hours a day for one year, she will get maternity leave of 20 weeks of up to $672 a week,” Hanson said.
“Is that justified?”
Hanson says the Russian president is “a strong man” who she respects a great deal.
“He is very patriotic towards his country, the people love him, he is doing so well for the country,” she said.
“So many Australians here want that leadership here in Australia. They want a leader here to stand up for the people and fight for this nation.”
Pushed on how that view tallied with Russia’s involvement in shooting down the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine, killing 298 people including 38 Australians, Hanson said the downing of the flight was disgusting but queried the proof of Putin’s influence.
“Did he push the button?” she asked.
Hanson indicated a distrust of immunisation, using the anti-vaccination line that no one cared about children more than their parents and urging people to do their own research. She said the government was “blackmailing” people – likely a reference to the policy of withholding welfare payments from parents who don’t have their children fully immunised.
“Don’t do that to people. That’s a dictatorship,” she said.
“I hear from so many parents, where are their rights?”
Labor’s health spokeswoman Catherine King hit back on Twitter, saying she was appalled to hear Hanson’s comments. “They aren’t just wrong – they are dangerous. (Government) needs to condemn,” King wrote.