By Jill Fraser
MELBOURNE, (AA): A divisive right-wing politician has made her first speech to Australia’s parliament in 20 years, but whereas in 1998 Asians were the subject of her venom, Wednesday she targeted Muslims.
The 62-year-old — who rose to prominence on an anti-immigration, anti-establishment, anti-free trade ticket — warned that Australia needed to take action against what she saw as the rising influence of Islam.
“Now we are in danger of being swamped by Muslims who bear a culture and ideology that is incompatible with our own,” Pauline Hanson said in her maiden speech in the Senate on Wednesday.
“Have no doubt that we will be living under Sharia law and living as second class citizens with second class rights if we keep heading down the [this] path,” the One Nation party leader said.
“Our leaders continue to tell us to be tolerant and to embrace the good Muslims,” she said, and then asked those gathered how could anyone tell the difference.
“There is no sign saying ‘good Muslim’ or ‘bad Muslim’. How many lives will be lost or destroyed trying to determine who is good and who is bad?”
Hanson’s party wants Muslim immigration to cease, construction of new mosques to be banned — along with the wearing of the burqa and niqab in public places, a royal commission inquiry to be conducted into Islam, and surveillance cameras installed in all mosques and Muslim schools.
The leader of the Australian Greens, Richard Di Natale, has called the One Nation party’s agenda “racist and bigoted”.
On Wednesday, Hanson said that if Muslim immigrants are not prepared to respect Australian laws, culture and way of life: “I suggest you go back where you came from.”
“I will take you to the airport and wave you goodbye with sincere best wishes,” she added.
Di Natale’s colleagues in the Greens walked out of the chamber in disgust mid-way through the speech.
[Photo: Pauline Hanson member of Australian Senate. Photographer: Creative Commons]