Pauline Hanson has thrown her support behind Sonia Kruger’s assertion yesterday morning that a moratorium be placed on Muslim migration to Australia, announcing ‘Go Sonia!’ to viewers across Australia on ABC’s Q&A program last night.
The leader of One Nation was seated next to Labor senator Sam Dastyari, who spoke about his own journey from Iran as a 5-year-old boy, in light of the debate sparked by Kruger’s response to an Andrew Bolt column in the wake of last weeks attacks in Nice.
He described the comments — which are echoed in Hanson’s policies — as “painful” and asked:
“Would you have allowed five-year-old Sam Dastyari into this country? He came to this country on 16 January, 1988, two weeks before the Bicentenary celebrations and my family has done nothing but contribute to this country since they’ve been here.”
Who could say no to that face?
The exchange that followed went a little something like this, (but you can watch the whole thing in the video above):
Hanson: “Are you a Muslim? Really?”
Dastyari: “Yeah and I have never hidden it away.”
Hanson: “Were you sworn in under the Quran?”
Dastyari: “I was born in an Islamic nation and by being born…
Hanson: “So you’re a Muslim.”
Hanson: “You’re a practising Muslim? This is quite interesting.”
Dastyari was equally floored, so much so, he had to ask if she was joking.
Greens senator Larissa Water interjected: “Is it because he doesn’t have three heads?”
Eventually, after some coaxing from host Tony Jones, Hanson responded to the question declaring that the political climate has changed since Dastyari’s family made the trip 28 years ago.
‘”I’m saying: ‘Go Sonia’,” she said, backing the Today Extra commentator.
“I think it’s great that someone is standing up, because she’s expressed her feeling about it.”
Mia Freedman, Kate de Brito and Monique Bowley talk Pauline Hanson on Mamamia OutLoud:
Later in the program, questioner Mohammed Attai expressed his belief that “the best way to increase understanding and mutual respect is through interaction”.
He then extended the Queensland senator-elect the offer of lunch or dinner (“whichever suits you”) with himself and his Muslim family.
You can see how that turned out here:
Meanwhile, outside of the ABC’s Sydney headquarters a stoush was brewing between around 100 rival protesters.
On one side of the street Hanson supporters stood armed with pro-Pauline placards, welcoming her back and declaring the apparent failure of multiculturalism (seriously, one read: “multiculturalism has failed”), while on the other, counter-protesters had signs of their own and an impressive repertoire of anti-racist chants.
Around five or six men were arrested but later released without charge.