Hanson fires back: ‘I don’t believe I was being divisive’
Pauline Hanson has rejected Nine's claims she was being "divisive" and was "ill-informed" when she took aim at victims of Melbourne's public housing hard lockdown, labelling some "alcoholics" and "drug addicts".
Hanson told Andrew Bolt on Sky News she did not believe she was being "divisive".
She also said she didn't care if Nine banned her after she was previously taken off Seven's Sunrise program.
She also rejected Nine's claims she was "ill-informed". She added that she "couldn't care less" about the ban Nine imposed on her.
"As long as I'm a member of parliament, I'm going to keep speaking out and saying what I feel, what needs to be said if we're going to have a cohesive society," she said.
"I'm up for election in two years time, if they don't want me, good. Don't vote for me. That's as simple as that. until then, they've got me for the next two years. And if you don't like it stiff bickies."
Hanson also rejected claims she was being racist.
"Having criticism is not racism," she said.
"I'm not racist and people misuse that word when they disagree with what you have to say."
Wearing a top with an Australian flag on it, she told Bolt Australians are proud of who they are.
She said it was important to hold on to "our freedom of speech".
"I'm not disrespectful to people but I will call out the way I see it which is in tune with a lot of Australians," she added.
Hanson was axed as a regular guest on the Nine Network's Today show after her on-air rant aired where she also suggested some public housing residents subject to Melbourne's hard lockdown could not speak English.
"The Today show has advised Pauline Hanson that she will no longer be appearing on our program as a regular contributor," Nine's news director, Darren Wick, said in a statement today.
"We don't shy away from diverse opinions and robust debate on the Today show. But this morning's accusations from Pauline Hanson were ill-informed and divisive.
"At a time of uncertainty in this national and global health crisis, Australians have to be united and supportive of one another. We need to get through this together."
Many have reacted to Hanson's comments including actor Daniel Macpherson who accused Nine of being disingenuous with its statement.
"No bullsh*t pats on the back for #Today," Macpherson wrote on Twitter. "You knew exactly who you booked."
Radio host Anthony 'Lehmo' Lehman responded: "I can't believe Australia's best known racist came on our show and said something racist!!!"
Hanson told her followers on social media she was standing by her comments.
"Everything I said this morning was true and I stand by all my comments," she said.
"It's being reported I made 'a number of controversial comments' this morning. I've gone back over the interview and I'm struggling to see what I said that was so controversial."
Appearing on Today, the One Nation leader said many of the tenants were from non-English speaking backgrounds and accused them of not adhering to social distancing rules, and said some of them would be used to the "tough conditions" because they were from war-torn countries.
Nine public housing towers in postcodes 3031 (Kensington, Flemington) and 3051 (North Melbourne) - which house 3000 residents - were placed under a hard lockdown on Saturday for at least five days, with the suburbs subject to a stay at home order after exceptionally high numbers of coronavirus cases.
No one is allowed out of the fenced-off towers in Flemington and North Melbourne while residents are tested and the source of the outbreaks tracked.
Today host Allison Langdon commented on the anguish many of the residents must be feeling with reports some had not eaten since Saturday, to which Ms Hanson responded: "We've seen food being delivered there. The fact is a lot of them are drug addicts... they're getting the medication, they're alcoholics so they're being looked after that way."
She continued: "A lot of these people are from non-English speaking backgrounds, probably English is their second language, who haven't adhered to the rules of social distancing.
"So the fact is you've got to look at why they are in that situation... Why has the government gone to this high-rise building and shut it down, possibly because a lot of these people weren't doing the right thing."
She added: "If they are from war-torn countries, which some of these people are, they know what it is like to be in tough conditions."
Ms Hanson said "interest groups" and the government would ensure the tenants were looked after.
The Senator said Queensland did not want Victorians visiting until COVID-19 cases in the state were under control and added much of Victoria was being "being isolated because these people, who cannot speak English, don't know what the hell to do".
Questioned over why she believed not being able to speak English was relevant to her argument, Ms Hanson claimed it had "a lot to do" with it.
"Why should we put everything out in someone else's language when you come to Australia as lots of Australians say, you learn to speak English," she said, referring to the fact COVID-19 messaging had not been communicated clearly in other languages.
Hanson was previously a regular on Seven's Sunrise program, quitting the show in March 2019 in protest over her "treatment" by host David Koch.
The departure came after a fiery segment about the mass murder in Christchurch by an alleged right-wing extremist born in Australia.
At the time, Koch said the alleged killer's manifesto read like One Nation's immigration and Muslim policy.
"Do you feel complicit with this atrocity?" he asked.
Senator Hanson responded: "Go out to Fairfield and out to these other areas. Go and ask the Lebanese Christians what's happened to their country. They'll tell you exactly, and they're in fear of the same thing happening here".
Before Senator Hanson revealed she had quit the show, Sunrise executive producer Michael Pell said she was still welcome on Sunrise.
In May last year, in an interview with former Today host Deb Knight, Senator Hanson took aim at the Nine program when asked about poll figures showing her party's primary vote had collapsed.
"I've actually gone up since the last election, unlike your show, Deb, since you've actually taken over," Senator Hanson shot back, before hitting Knight with a further burn. "You've actually gone down in your viewership."
Originally published as Hanson fires back: 'I don't believe I was being divisive'