Race Discrimination commissioner says Pauline Hanson’s anti-multiculturalism views could greatly damage Australia

By @chelean on
Leader of Australia's One Nation Party, Pauline Hanson, speaks during a news conference in Brisbane, Australia, July 4, 2016.
Leader of Australia's One Nation Party, Pauline Hanson, speaks during a news conference in Brisbane, Australia, July 4, 2016. AAP/Dan Peled/Reuters

Senator-elect Pauline Hanson could create racially-fuelled hatred, according to Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane. He said the One Nation party leader’s anti-multiculturalism beliefs could appeal to xenophobia.

Hanson has been quite vocal about her views on the Islamic religion and other races. In her maiden speech in 1996, she famously claimed that Australia was “in danger of being swamped by Asians.” Twenty years later, her views have not changed, though adding that the country must take a strong stance against Muslims.

She has called for a royal commission into Islam, claiming that Muslims preach hatred in mosques and bring the threat of “terrorism on our streets.” She believes her One Nation party, which reflects her anti-Muslim policies, can take four to seats in the upper house.

Soutphommasane is concerned that Hanson could start racial division with her comments. He said it took the nation a long time to recover from the hatred spewed by Hanson more than 20 years ago.

“There was a great deal of ugliness and division unleashed by Ms Hanson and it took us years to recover,” he told the ABC.

“We have plenty of examples about how licensing hate can lead to serious violence and ugliness in our streets and community,” he continued. “We shouldn’t be doing anything to compromise the remarkable success story of Australian multiculturalism. Let’s heed to lessons of history and not be complacent about the dangers that face us right now.”

Soutphommasane further explained how Hanson’s views are damaging to the nation, saying when one is talking about inflammatory rhetoric or is appealing to xenophobia, there’s great harm to be done. “They make a sure recipe for hate and division. Australian racial tolerance and community harmony will not be served by an indulgence of such kind.”

He said he would like to invite Hanson for a pho soup meal and chat about race, immigration and multiculturalism.

Meanwhile, NSW Premier Mike Baird said Hanson has the right to express her views, even though he did not agree with her.

“She has a right to make the comments she does,” he told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday (via Sky News). “I don’t have to agree with them, and I imagine most of them I won’t agree with.”

He continued, “My encouragement for any debate that comes is done on the basis of other people’s views, respect for many cultures and faiths we have across this incredible city.”