By Michelle Grattan,Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra
Twenty years after her inflammatory maiden speech claiming Australia was in danger of being swamped by Asians, Pauline Hanson has told the Senate that “now we are in danger of being swamped by Muslims who bear a culture and ideology that is incompatible with our own”.
In her second “first speech”, this time as a new senator and leader of a party of four that has a slice of the balance of power, Hanson launched an attack on her current target, saying further Muslim immigration should be stopped and the burqa banned. No more mosques or Islamic schools should be allowed to be built, she said.
“Islam cannot have a significant presence in Australia if we are to live in an open, secular and cohesive society. Never before in Australia’s history have we seen civil unrest and terror associated with a so-called religion, or from followers of that faith,” she said.
“We have seen the destruction that it is causing around the world. If we do not make changes now, there will be no hope in the future. Have no doubt that we will be living under sharia law and treated as second-class citizens with second-class rights if we keep heading down the path with the attitude, ‘she’ll be right, mate’.”
Hanson said changes were occurring in predominantly Muslim suburbs. “Tolerance towards other Australians is no longer the case. Our law courts are disrespected and prisons have become breeding grounds for Muslims to radicalise inmates.”
“Muslims are imprisoned at almost three times the average rate. The rate of unemployed and public dependency is two to three times greater than the national average. Muslims are prominent in organised crime, with associated violence and drug dealing,” she said.
“Anti-social behaviour is rampant, fuelled by hyper-masculine and misogynist culture. Multiple social surveys find that neighbourhoods of Muslim settlement are suffering from collapsing social cohesion and fear of crime. Australians, in general, are more fearful.”
She said despite the radicalisation that was happening, “our leaders continue to tell us to be tolerant and embrace the good Muslims. But how should we 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 said Australia had a national identity before federation, which was all about belonging and nothing to do with diversity.
“Tolerance has to be shown by those who come to this country for a new way of life. If you are not prepared to become Australian and give this country your undivided loyalty, obey our laws and respect our culture and way of life, then I suggest you go back to where you came from. If it would be any help, I will take you to the airport and wave you goodbye with sincere best wishes.”
Hanson attacked immigration in general, saying high immigration only benefited the multinationals, banks and big business. She said ordinary Australians suffered from a “massive” intake of 190,000 a year.
“I call for a halt to further immigration and for government to first look after our aged, the sick and the helpless,” she said. “Clean up your own backyard before flooding our country with more people who are going to be a drain on our society.”
She also lashed out at Chinese and other foreign investment. “Any foreign ownership is regrettable, but why are we allowing the Chinese government, an oppressive communist regime, to own our land and assets?”
Clearly relishing the potential power she holds second time around, Hanson remembered calling out on her last day in the House of Representatives, “I will be back” – to which those around her cried out, “No, you won’t.”
“So, to all my peers in this place and those from the past, I have two words for you: I’m back – but not alone.”
To pass legislation that is opposed by Labor and the Greens, the government requires nine of the 11 non-Green crossbenchers, meaning it will need votes from the Hansonites.
Greens senators walked out during Hanson’s speech.
This story first appeared in The Conversation.
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