Pauline Hanson storms out of Senate over Indigenous recognition: 'I will never'

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Pauline Hanson has angrily left the Senate chamber during the opening acknowledgement to country after dismissing its validity on the second day of the new Parliament.

President Sue Lines acknowledged the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people as traditional custodians of the Canberra area and paid respect to elders past and present at the opening of Wednesday's sitting.

Senator Hanson interjected, yelling "No, I won't and never will", before storming out of the chamber.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson angrily reacts to President Sue Lines acknowledgement of country in the Senate chamber. Source: AAP/Mick Tsikas
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson angrily reacts to President Sue Lines acknowledgement of country in the Senate chamber. Source: AAP/Mick Tsikas

The One Nation senator told the Australian Associated Press she could not accept the welcome to country or a proposal to be moved later in the day that would raise the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags in the Senate chamber.

"I've been feeling this way for a long time," she said.

"I have called from the first day for equality for all Australians. I see this as divisive."

She said if anyone needed acknowledgement it was "our people that have fought for this country. People who have sacrificed their lives".

Ms Hanson stormed out of the chamber following her outburst. Source: AAP/Mick Tsikas
Ms Hanson stormed out of the chamber following her outburst. Source: AAP/Mick Tsikas

Senator Hanson added the Indigenous flag had "never been voted on" and criticised the acknowledgement to country.

"I will never pay respect to (the flag). I find this flag divisive," she said.

"We are now hearing it on flights and aeroplanes. I'm sorry - this is my country as well.

"This is heading towards division in our nation. A 'them and us'. And we'll never close the gap if we continue down this path. All Australians should be treated equally and the same."

Indigenous Greens' senator Lidia Thorpe took to Twitter to criticise Senator Hanson, calling the action "disrespectful".

"Day two of the 47th parliament and racism has reared its ugly head," she wrote.

"Pauline Hanson disrespectfully stormed out of the acknowledgement of country in the Senate, refusing to acknowledge 'those people'.

"You want to make parliament safe? Get rid of racism."

The lower house on Wednesday agreed to set up the first dedicated joint standing committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs.

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