The debate of the decade has had Australia divided the last few years.
Hanson goes? Hanson stays?
Pauline Hanson has had a larger than life presence in the media in the last 10 years. Going from an expelled politician for electoral fraud and spending 11 weeks in jail, to her nude photo scandal (that turned out to be a mistaken identity), to finally becoming the one Australian politician that has remix videos made of her ridiculous speeches on Youtube; she has definitely had one hell of a career.
Senator Hanson has said and done a lot of things on national television that has not only sparked controversial debates, but has also opened doors for public discrimination.
This bothers me…a lot.
As a young Muslim female journalist, it’s hard to turn the other cheek when she is there on her high horse slamming my religion, and trying to ‘reclaim Australia’.
Frankly, it boggles my mind to see the number of things she has gotten away with. We grow up in the Australian education system learning all about our rights, our freedom of speech and the fact that we live in a fair democratic country. We are taught about the Australian Commonwealth Constitution and how it has protected the religious practices of residents and citizens. Our constitutions states that under no circumstance is the Commonwealth of Australia allowed to ‘make laws for establishing any religion, imposing any religious observance, or prohibiting the free exercise of any religion’.
I’d like you to hold on to that little recap from VCE legal studies, because it is definitely going to come in handy for the rest of this article.
After following every news update on Senator Pauline Hanson (not willingly), I have made a very well researched opinion/decision, that Senator Hanson does not deserve to be sitting in Parliament, and should either resign or be booted out.
Before you think I am being too harsh or unfair, hear me out, and I’ll show you all the reasons why she shouldn’t stay in Parliament any longer.
- Sparked the Reclaim Australia rallies in 2015/2016-
“The majority of Australians live by Christian values, but Australia has had an open door policy to other religions practicing their faith. Australia has opened up to letting Muslims migrate from their war torn countries, but with their ever-increasing numbers, the cultural and religious differences have become more evident, including the impact it has had on Australian society”–Senator Pauline Hanson (Reclaim Australia Speech on April 19 2015)
Take the time to read the above quote that was taken directly from her speech which was posted on the One Nation website.
Yes there have been an increase in immigrants in Australia. Great, that is what Australia should be doing. It should be opening their doors and helping those in war torn countries, because after all Australia is a multicultural and multiracial country. But, as a representative of the community in Federal Parliament, Senator Hanson is isolating one race, group and religion of people. The Australian Human Rights Commission clearly states under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) that ‘that all persons be guaranteed equal and effective protection under the law against discrimination’. What has Senator Hanson done instead? She has rallied bigoted Australians who openly describe themselves as ‘anti-Muslim’, to verbally attack people from an entire religion (Islam).
If this is not obvious enough, Senator Hanson has breached the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth), which clearly states ‘Public behaviour based on race which offends, insults, humiliates or intimidates a person or group is also made unlawful’.
Started a petition to ban halal certification
“Australians are being forced, and I will use the word forced, to buy food that is Halal certified. Halal certificates are issued, for a fee, by a certifying body.”–Senator Pauline Hanson (Comment made after Burqa Parliament Stunt, ABC News-
This one still does not make sense to me, at all… The certification process for food is the same, whether it is for ‘Halal’, ‘Kosher’, ‘Vegan’ or ‘Vegetarian’. Senator Hanson believes, having products (famously Cadbury Easter Eggs) which are Halal certified means that Australians are paying a religious tax, and the whole country is being “Islamified” – because you know what other logic would there be?
In fact according to the Senate Economics References Committee (the Committee) in a 2015 report ‘evidence received by the committee overwhelmingly suggests that Halal certification does not result in increased food prices’.
Senator Hanson needs to know that just like how we cater to other religions such as Judaism by providing Kosher products, the same needs to be done with other religions to appeal to the demographic of Australia. The matter of equality amongst all individuals and religious groups is also highlighted in the Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986, which Senator Hanson has also breached while trying to ‘ban’ halal certification.
Started a petition to ban the burqa
“If we are to live in a cohesive society, then everyone must be treated equally. Ban the Burqa and Niquab from government buildings, schools, universities and whilst driving a car. It is not a religious requirement, it was worn to protect ones face from sand storms. We do not have sand storms in the cities of Australia.” (Reclaim Australia Speech on April 19 2015)
Yet, another quote taken directly from her Reclaim Australia protest speech.
I understand the whole security issue, but I have travelled a lot, I have been to banks and almost anywhere that requires identification and I have never seen a woman (who wears a burqa) refuse an order from authority when asked for identification. Therefore, why should Senator Hanson, once again stop a group of people from expressing their way of religion and belief?
Not only has Senator Hanson still not realised that banning the burqa is almost impossible under Federal or Sate law, because Section 116 states (yes, again): “The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion”.
She has also breached Article 20 (specifically Reclaim Australia rallies) under the ICCPR, which clearly states that although freedom of speech is allowed across all states, Article 20 ‘requires the prohibition by law of certain particularly harmful expression’ and therefore ‘Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law’.
Wore the burqa in parliament to ‘prove a point’
“I do not believe coming from a woman that you believe a woman should be covered from head to toe. It is not her choice. It’s control,” Hanson said (Interview with TRIPLE M breakfast presenter Robin Bailey- 24th Jan 2017)
If you are interested to see just how many university students agreed her conduct was appalling, click here.
Let me turn your eyes to No. 22 of the Brief Guides to Senate Procedures, ‘Provisions governing the conduct of senators’, under Privilege Resolution 9, which clearly highlights the responsibilities of freedom of speech.
Privilege Resolution 9 “enjoins senators to use their great power of freedom of speech responsibly and with regard to several factors including the rights of others and the damage that can be done to reputations and the institution of parliament by allegations made in parliament.
This definitely was the cherry on top, and a stunt that shook people around Australia.
Attorney General Senator Brandis, frontbencher Simon Birmingham, NSW Muslim MP Jihad Dib, Health Minister Sussan Ley as well as many more Australian politicians and law-abiding citizens saw this as disorderly conduct by Senator Hanson.
There was enough reason for The President of the Senate to not only sin-bin Senator Pauline Hanson for being ‘unduly disruptive’ but to also suspend her on the spot, as it was clear to everyone that the Attorney-General considered her to have ‘behaved in a disorderly manner’.
She may have come out and apologised to the public, but if Australia’s own political representatives are not punished for severe misconduct, abusing their power and breaching basic Human Rights/Australian legislation; the same way daily Australian citizens/residents are; then how do the law-makers of this country expect residents of Australia to abide by our laws?