One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has been axed from any further/future appearances on Channel 9’s Today show.
During a panel segment, Hanson raged against residents inside nine public housing towers in Melbourne, calling them “drug addicts”, who “are from non-English speaking backgrounds, probably English is their second language who haven’t adhered to the rules of social distancing.”
Hours after the episode aired, Director of News and Current Affairs Darren Wick released a statement, advising that she would “no longer be appearing on our programme 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,” he continued.
During the show and in conversation with host Ally Langdon, Hanson was told that the tower residents hadn’t had a proper meal since Saturday.
“Ah come on Ally, we’ve seen food being delivered there,” she responded. “The fact is a lot of them are drug addicts as well, they are getting their medication, they are alcoholics so they’re being looked after in that way.”
“They are actually getting paid extra money. Why are they getting paid extra money? For what? They are not leaving the premises.”
She then accused residents for not “doing the right thing”, before suggesting that refugees should know what it’s like to be in lockdown because they come from “war-torn countries”.
“So I’d say, you know, have a look at the facts before you criticise and that aspect and I think the governments and all of these other, you know, these interest groups and everyone will make sure they’re well looked after.”
“The fact is that we’re sick and tired of people bleeding bloody hearts out there,” she added. “This is a shut down because the rest of the state has been locked off from the rest of the country.
“We don’t want the Victorians up here in Queensland as our premier has said. 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, who went this isn’t one area that’s being isolated, 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.”
Later, Hanson was told her views were “absolute nonsense” by fellow panellist Sarah Le Marquand, editor-in-chief of Stellar and Body+Soul magazine.
“This is not a war-torn country — it’s Melbourne,” she said. “It doesn’t matter whether they speak English or where they have come from. We are talking about young children and families.”
“We’ve gone through months of people, the public being locked up,” Hanson responded. “We’ve gone through months where people couldn’t go to the park, gyms, couldn’t go to the park, gyms, couldn’t go anywhere.
“Australian people have been locked up in their homes for ages. What are you going on about now? Because they’re locked up in their homes because they live in apartment buildings, they live in apartment buildings, the Government has taken food to them, they get paid extra money, they are getting methadone, they are given the drugs, they are looking after their addictions, what is your problem?
“We really need to clean up the COVID-19. Make up your mind. You either want to clean up COVID-19 or you don’t. And you have to make the tough decisions if we are going to get this country back on track.”