Pauline Hanson stunned Today viewers and hosts on Monday morning when claiming she “doesn’t trust Chinese”.
“I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them,” Senator Hanson told the Today show.
The One Nation leader was discussing Liberal Senator Sarah Henderson’s call for all coronavirus research with foreign governments to be halted until they are deemed not a threat to Australia when she made the comments.
“I can understand that for national security reasons, but all foreign scientists, no I don’t agree with that because people putting their heads together, scientists working together to find a vaccine for this pandemic I think is very necessary,” Ms Hanson replied when asked by Today host Allison Langdon if she agreed with Senator Henderson.
“Do security checks by all means but I wouldn’t be pointing the finger at everyone and we need to find [the vaccine] if we’re going to get the world back on track again.”
Last week, The Daily Telegraph revealed two scientists with the Wuhan Institute of Virology studied bats at a CSIRO lab in Geelong, Victoria, for research funded by the Chinese and Australian governments.
On Monday, Langdon asked Ms Hanson if she was OK with the fact scientists from Wuhan, where coronavirus originated, had previously worked in Australia.
“Look if they are working, security check them, but [Senator Henderson] is talking about all foreign scientists,” she responded.
“We’ve got scientists from other countries who are doing a lot of good in Australia working with Australian scientists, but I don’t trust Chinese, I don’t trust them, I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them,” she said, leaving Langdon stunned.
A handful of people took to the Today show’s Twitter account to hit out at Ms Hanson’s “racist” rant.
"I don't trust the Chinese. I don't trust them as far as I could throw them." @PaulineHansonOz on a Liberal senator calling for a review into Australia's security and safety. #9Today pic.twitter.com/UVL8wyOfZi
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) May 3, 2020
CSIRO gets $220m to test virus vaccines
The federal government is providing $220 million to upgrade a CSIRO biosecurity research facility in Geelong to help better understand the coronavirus and test potential vaccines.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the centre has already made rapid progress in work that will fast-track securing a vaccine for COVID-19.
The government has also committed up to $10 million to support this specific work as required, on top of the $220 million.
The world-leading team of scientists at Geelong has already commenced pre-clinical trials for vaccine candidates and I am confident they are moving ever closer to bringing forward a vaccine for COVID-19," Mr Hunt said in a statement on Saturday.
The facility, formerly known as the Australian Animal Health Laboratory, has also been renamed the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness (ACDP) to better reflect its national role in identifying, preventing and responding to the increasing threat of diseases, including those spreading from animals to humans.
"This $220 million upgrade will strengthen the ACDP's emergency response capacity to prepare for and deal with epidemics occurring in Australia and enhance the facility's already outstanding work in developing disease protection and biosecurity measures," Mr Hunt said.
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