tv

"That's absolute rubbish": Dick Smith attacks Waleed Aly on The Project.

Announcing his public support for Pauline Hanson and the One Nation Party earlier this week, Dick Smith appeared on The Project on Tuesday night to… well, you know, tell everyone why that was exactly.

And in true far-right versus moderate-left form, it didn’t take long for things to get heated, with Smith telling co-host Waleed Aly, “you don’t understand basic economics”.

Speaking on the topic of immigration, 72-year-old Smith informed the show’s panel that while he does not support Hanson’s stance on Muslim immigration, he does agree that there needs to be a serious reduction in the number of immigrants entering Australia each year.

Dick Smith the project
Dick Smith says he largely agrees with Hanson's immigration policy. Source: The Project.

"I know lots of Muslims and 99 per cent are typical Aussies, and I don't think they should be blamed for the one per cent - or the 0.1 per cent that causes problems," Smith began.

"I've come out and said the part of her policy that says immigration should be about 70,000 per year, I strongly support. We need to not keep expanding our population; it's impossible to have more and more people forever so let's keep Australia at about 26 million," the iconic businessman continued.

Noting that Smith has had a long interest in population growth, 38-year-old Aly asked about the ageing population problem Australia faces.

Dick Smith the project
Waleed Aly on Tuesday night's episode of The Project. Source: The Project.
ADVERTISEMENT

"We're in this position where we have an ageing population and the number of people working is going to be outstripped by the number of people who'll have to be supported in retirement. So how are we going to do that without an immigration program that provides those people for the workforce to support the elderly?" Aly asked.

"Yeah, see wouldn't it be great if you could solve it by bringing in people now. But the problem is they get older and then the whole problem becomes worse. It's what you call a Ponzi scheme; that's what we've got now. And those are illegal in Australia," Smith responded.

Not backing down, though, Walkley award-winning journalist Aly continued his line of questioning.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson. Source: ABC.

"But Dick, you could come up with an immigration program that meant that instead of it being an age pyramid that went like that," Aly said making an inverse pyramid figure with his hands, "so a whole lot of young people are going to have to work with taxes  at huge levels to support the retiring, you keep it at a level that's a bit squarer, right?" he continued before adding, "Otherwise you would have to level with us now and tell us how much tax you want young working people to pay so that the ageing population can have a retirement."

ADVERTISEMENT

And it was at this point that the fireworks began to spark.

Dick Smith the project
Waleed Aly went head to head with Dick Smith on Tuesday night's episode of The Project. Source: The Project.

"Yeah that's absolute rubbish, you don't understand basic economics and all I can say is it's going to get worse and worse," Smith replied.

"Peter Costello said we've gotta have three per cent growth. That doubles everything every 25 years. It gets to the most incredible figures - 25 billion people in the time of 200 years of modern Australia. That would be ridiculous," he concluded.

When earlier in the interview, co-host Carrie Bickmore asked Smith if he'd spoken to Hanson since coming out in support of her, he replied "no" before admitting, "I've actually not met her, but I've spoken to her on the phone."

As Pedestrian.TV reported, Hanson wasn't overly pleased with Aly's questioning during the interview.

"I don’t bother watching him. I think he’s very one-sided and biased in his opinion, he’s not interested in listening to any real debate in this," she said.

"I think he’s rude. Do I really care what his opinion is? No."

She also re-stated her desire for a ban on Muslim immigration.

"What I’m saying about banning Muslims is Muslims from very heavily dominated practising countries who have no regard for Christianity and our culture and our way of life. The pure fact is, if you look at these women that get around in their full burqas they are very staunch Muslims who have no, I don’t believe will ever assimilate into our society or respect our culture and Christianity."

00:00 / ???