politics

Pauline Hanson says she regrets one of her most controversial political statements.

There are many dimensions to new senator, Pauline Hanson.

Her maiden speech in Parliament, back in 1996, divided the nation when she claimed Australia would be “swamped by Asians”.

Since her political debut, she has continued to polarise voters with what many claim to be the “silent majority” views.

Despite failing at many elections, at both State and Federal elections, since she lost her seat in 1998, Senator Hanson is back — and with an agenda.

Whether it’s challenging the two-party majority or banning Muslim immigration, she isn’t here to dance around.

Yet 60 Minutes journalist, Liz Hayes, brought the usually steely 62-year-old to tears in tonight’s episode.

Standing outside Parliament House in Canberra, it’s evident being back after 18 years is overwhelming for Hanson. “You’re a bit emotional,” Hayes observes.

Scroll through to see what Senator Hanson has been doing recently. Images via Facebook. (Post continues after gallery.)

As tears form in Hanson’s eyes she responds, “I am, yeah.”

As Hayes explains, it’s a mixture of gratitude for being given a second chance and “honoured” by the Australian people.

Going into Parliament House, Hanson seems to reclaim her controversial position with ease.

“You know what?” she says to Hayes, “It feels good. I know I was meant to be here.”

“What I would say to the Australian people is that I will always try to be upfront, honest and accountable to them… I am a people’s representative.”

Despite her apparent sense of conviction, self-doubt has always plagued her.

“Confidence. It’s been very hard for me, Liz, and you might find this hard after I say it… I was the quiet one of the family,” she says.

“To actually get into politics and to do that, I really had to push myself to be the voice. It doesn’t… it’s never come to me easily.”

The Mamamia team discuss the rise of Pauline Hanson. (Post continues after audio.)

During the interview, Hansons hits back at any suggestion that she is racist or hates foreigners.

“I’m not [afraid] of foreigners. That’s stupid to say, you know … I don’t hate Asians. I don’t hate Muslims. I don’t, you know, hate’s a very strong.”

However, she admits to feeling concerned by what she thinks Muslim immigration can do to Australia.

“There are those lurking close at hand who wish to destroy all that is Australian, and our freedom,” she says.

“I’m trying to be protective, Liz, let’s deal with what we have here at the moment. I don’t want to see another Australian lose their life or a loved one lose their lives because of this.”

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Hanson also admitted to regretting, to a degree, her infamous “swamped by Asians” comment.

“I suppose, if I hadn’t have said ‘swamped by Asians’ in my maiden speech, it might’ve been different, because it wasn’t meant to offend the Asians that are here, or people who’ve come here for a new way of life.”

Hanson has never failed to attract harsh criticism. Yet when Hayes asks how it feels to be called “a virus, an opportunist, a half-wit, part of the ugly underbelly of Australia”, Hanson’s response is clear: she won’t let it affect her.

“It’s like water off a duck’s back … I know I’m not going out there to personally hurt anyone. Never have done. Never, ever, have I done that,” she admits.

“If people can, you know, prove to me that I haven’t been right in my views, my opinions, by all means, I’m quite open-minded with a lot of things.”

In her parting words for her critics, the senator acknowledges she’s not without faults.

“Judge me on my performance and my achievements. I’m not perfect. I’ve never claimed to be perfect,” she tells Hayes.

“But if anyone wants to criticise me, then at the next election, put your name forward … I’d like to see what sort of job you do.”

Tags: australian-politics , current-affairs
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