Pauline Hanson has been dumped from the Today show following a rant about the people locked down in Melbourne’s public housing buildings after a coronavirus outbreak.
Following Senator Hanson’s “divisive” comments on Channel Nine’s Today show on Monday, the network has decided the controversial politician will not appear on the program again.
Speaking about the 3000 residents living in public housing units in Melbourne who have been subject to a strict lockdown, Senator Hanson made some sweeping assumptions.
“The fact is a lot of them are drug addicts,” Senator Hanson said during her rant when invited to comment on the people in the Melbourne lockdown not having access to food.
Nine’s Director of News and Current Affairs, Darren Wick, later issued a statement saying Pauline Hanson has been advised she will no longer be appearing on the Today program as a regular contributor.
“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.”
On Monday morning, Today host Ally Langdon asked Senator Hanson what she thought of people living in the public housing units not having access to food since Saturday.
The Queensland senator fired back, saying people were getting food and medication.
— Tom Steinfort (@tomsteinfort) July 6, 2020
“The fact is a lot of them are drug addicts,” Senator Hanson started up before Langdon interjects to say there are 3000 people living in the nine buildings across Melbourne.
“They’re actually alcoholics, so they are being looked after that way. They are getting paid extra money. Why are they getting paid extra money?
“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.”
She then said the reason the government had decided to lock down the nine buildings was “possibly because a lot of these people weren't doing the right thing”.
— Natty-back-in-lockdown (@yesaugustus) July 6, 2020
The buildings went into lockdown over the weekend after a number of coronavirus cases were identified in the towers. On Monday the total number of people with coronavirus in those towers had reached 53.
Senator Hanson accused of not having a heart
Senator Hanson then implied many of the residents were from “war-torn countries”.
“I saw them taking a truck load of food to them, all the rest of it, if they are from war-torn countries, which some of these people are, they know what it is like to be in tough conditions,” she said, which prompted Langdon to question whether the Queensland Senator had a heart or not.
Senator Hanson replied saying she did have a heart, but said she also had “common sense”, saying Queensland does not want Victorians as the outbreak worsens in the state.
“Until they clean this up, what do you think is going to happen to those people that can’t go back to their jobs, who have actually been isolated themselves?” she asked.
“We have got a lot of Victoria that is being isolated because these people, who cannot speak English, don’t know what the hell to do.”
Langdon pushed the senator, saying she couldn’t understand how someone not being able to speak English was relevant, suggesting that could be a failing of the government not being able to communicate clearly.
Joining Senator Hanson on the Today show was journalist Sarrah Le Marquand, who disagreed with the senator, pointing out Australia was not a “war-torn country”.
“It has got nothing to do with whether you speak English or not,” Le Marquand fired back.
“Australia is not a war-torn country. This is Melbourne. It's a city in our country. This is unacceptable that we are standing by and watching citizens being treated this way.
“I don't care where they've come from. That is not the point. We are talking about people that were given no warning. People that clearly are lacking basic supplies. That are being locked up. Young children, families. Like I said, it's an absolute recipe for disaster.”
Pauline Hanson stands by comments
On Facebook, after Nine issued the press release, Senator Hanson said she stood by her comments on the Today Show.
“Everything I said this morning was true and I stand by all my comments,” she wrote on her Pauline Hanson's Please Explain Facebook page.
“However, the Today show has informed my staff that they believe my statements were ‘racist’ and ‘divisive’ and my regular Monday spot has been canceled.”
“Well said Pauline,” one person responded to Senator Hanson’s post.
“At least you have common sense.”
However, other people condemned her words and Nine for giving her a platform.
This is utterly repulsive and even for The Today Show and @9NewsAUS shameful that they would allow this vilification. 🤬
This is NOT acceptable, not even by Australian media racist and bigoted crappy standards! pic.twitter.com/ITl6mOGS9A
— Noely ⚡️🏐 (@YaThinkN) July 5, 2020
“This is utterly repulsive and even for The Today Show and @9NewsAUS shameful that they would allow this vilification,” one person tweeted.
“This is NOT acceptable, not even by Australian media racist and bigoted crappy standards!”
Many people online called Senator Hanson ‘racist’, slamming her comments, however many pointed out this wasn’t out of character for the politician.
“Did the Today show just realise Pauline Hanson is a racist this morning?” someone else questioned on Twitter.
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