Hanson and Hinch erupt in debate on Australian refugee intake

Nicholas McCallum

Two of Australia's biggest blowhards went head-to-head this morning in a debate over whether the Abbott government should increase its refugee intake to help Syrians fleeing their war-torn nation.

As European nations take drastic measures to help resettle hundreds of thousands of refugees streaming across the continent, Derryn Hinch and Pauline Hanson engaged in a slanging match on Sunrise as to whether Australia should do more.


Hanson's stance was that Australia should not increase its intake of mostly Muslim Syrian refugees because they would be a threat to the "peace and harmony" of the nation and were "taking our jobs".

Hinch and host David Koch accused the former One Nation leader of "cherry picking the bad facts" of a small minority of refugees in Australia to justify her stance. Hinch immediately flipped his lid.

"Pauline, you've had your bloody go. It's offensive to even have you on the bloody program," the shock jock said.

"They'll come at the expense of other refugees," Hinch said, alluding to the prime minister's acquiescence to raise Australia's intake of Syrian refugees but not increase refugees numbers overall.

Hundreds of people gather at the Perth Cultural Centre to hold a vigil for Aylan al-Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy who was found dead on a beach in Turkey. Photo: AAP/NEWZULU/ALEX BAINBRIDGE
Hundreds of people gather at the Perth Cultural Centre to hold a vigil for Aylan al-Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy who was found dead on a beach in Turkey. Photo: AAP/NEWZULU/ALEX BAINBRIDGE

Hinch said he agrees with the Abbott government policy of turning back boats – now adopted by Labor – adding the ALP got it wrong in the past. But the "Human Headline" was adamant Australia could allow more Syrian refugees into the country, but said it was politically untenable.

"Sadly, the Australian electorate – like you – wouldn't accept it."

An estimated 10,000 people, including many children, attended a candle-lit vigil in Sydney's Hyde Park to show support for refugees. Photo: AAP/NEWZULU/RICHARD ASHEN
An estimated 10,000 people, including many children, attended a candle-lit vigil in Sydney's Hyde Park to show support for refugees. Photo: AAP/NEWZULU/RICHARD ASHEN

Hanson feigned compassion for fleeing Syrians, saying "I care about these people" but affirmed her belief "they will have an impact on our culture and our way of life".

"You better be prepared for what's going to happen in this country because a lot of people are going to suffer," Hanson said.


The refugees and migrants are mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. AP/Petros Giannakouris
The refugees and migrants are mostly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. AP/Petros Giannakouris

"We have not had any problems in this country from any other religious organisations than we have with the Muslims."

Koch tried to point out that when Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser allowed 50,000 Vietnamese refugees to settle in Australia in the 1980s, but Hanson was unable to accept their arrival was disruptive at the time.

A Greek policeman holds a Syrian refugee child as a crowd of refugees and migrants wait to cross at Geece's border. Photo: REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
A Greek policeman holds a Syrian refugee child as a crowd of refugees and migrants wait to cross at Geece's border. Photo: REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

The erstwhile MP warned if the Abbott government made any drastic measures to increase the numbers of Muslims coming to Australia, the electorate would punish him with a "backlash" at the next election.

"If you want to have peace and harmony in this country you cannot keep increasing the Muslims, Islam, in this country. We are going to have huge problems in this country," Hanson said.

Tens of thousands of poeple have attended candlelight vigils around australia to support the asylum seeker struggle in Europe. Photo: AAP
Tens of thousands of poeple have attended candlelight vigils around australia to support the asylum seeker struggle in Europe. Photo: AAP

But Hanson's xenophobia became too much for Hinch who got the final word: "Will you run a disclaimer after the segment – I wish I hadn't been on it."

Morning news break – September 08