On the second sitting day of the 47th Parliament of Australia, senators in the Upper House had not even had a chance to take their seats before Pauline Hanson decided to walk out of the chamber.
- Pauline Hanson interjected during the Acknowledgement of Country on Wednesday
- Politicians have condemned her actions as racist
- Senator Hanson opposes the Aboriginal flag being hung in the Upper House
As an Acknowledgement of Country was read by President of the Senate Sue Lines, the Queensland senator interjected to say she didn’t and never would acknowledge Indigenous lands in Australia, before walking out.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Senator Hanson said the Acknowledgement was a divisive statement.
“Like many non-indigenous Australians, Senator Hanson considers this country belongs to her as much it does belong to any other Australian, indigenous or otherwise,” it read.
“Senator Hanson does not accept that acknowledgement of country is any sort of indigenous Australian tradition.”
An Acknowledgement of Country has been included alongside a prayer at the opening of the chamber for over a decade.
Senator Hanson, who has sat as an elected representative for Queensland since 2016, said she also opposed the inclusion of the Aboriginal flag in the Senate chamber.
Outburst condemned by politicians
Victorian Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe has been quick to condemn the actions of Senator Hanson as an act of racism and violence.
“I was immediately furious to see such blatant disrespect and racism in my workplace,” Senator Thorpe said.
“She talks about creating a unified nation, yet she comes out with hate speech like that.”
Senator Thorpe said Senator Hanson represented a not-insignificant section of the Australian population, who needed better education on Australia’s history with Indigenous people.
“She’s their poster girl, the racism poster girl right there, no-one is even surprised at what she says any more, but she’s still there,” she said.
“So it shows that we have a very toxic element of our country that votes this person in. That’s the element we need to educate and call out for their racist behaviours in the places where they live.”
Fellow Greens Senator Nick McKim also condemned the outburst.
New South Wales Labor Senator Jenny McAllister said she disagreed with the comments, but Senator Hanson was free to make up her own mind.
“I really couldn’t disagree with Pauline Hanson more,” she said.
“I think it is up to Pauline Hanson to make her own decisions about that but I am really clear about my position. I think acknowledging country and acknowledging traditional owners is the right thing to do.”