As Australians grapple with the news that Pauline Hanson has successfully orchestrated a political comeback, it has emerged that Sunrise had been regularly paying to have her messages beamed into our living rooms in the lead-up to the election.
Hanson’s far-right One Nation party is likely to have picked up at least two Senate seats in Saturday’s election, and she believes it could climb to as many as six when the vote count is completed.
Pauline Hanson delivers her first press conference since her Senate win. Post continues after video…
Critics are now pointing their fingers at Seven’s Sunrise for having routinely given her a platform to air her extreme views in the past months – and paying her for the privilege.
The show’s executive producer Michael Pell confirmed she was a paid contributor, telling news.com.au there was nothing out of the ordinary about Hanson’s appearances.
“Pauline is one of a number of paid regular commentators on Sunrise,” he said.
“She does not appear alone, but rather with other commentators, to canvass a range of views on the main news topics of the day.”
Pauline Hanson defended Eddie McGuire on Sunrise over his Caroline Wilson drowning remarks. Post continues after video…
It’s worth noting, too, that Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party also secured a spot in the Senate. He is also a regular commentator on the breakfast TV show.
Hanson regularly gave her two cents on a range of topics, including terrorism, vaccinations, housing affordability, health cover and racism.
The response on Twitter has been nothing less than scathing.
a big thanks to Sunrise for pushing the Pauline Hanson return for three years now, you guys gotta take the credit for this #ausvotes
— Angus Livingston (@anguslivingston) July 2, 2016
How can journos bemoan election of liars and fear-mongers like Hanson? They give her an unchallenged platform and even pay her. Ta Sunrise!
— Isabelle Oderberg (@yodaberg) July 4, 2016
Bigots don’t come up with their views by themselves. They come from platforms like Sunrise that pay Hanson to spew racist bile. — brendon (@BrendonFoye) July 4, 2016
Questions had been raised in recent months when she resurfaced as a familiar face on our screens. She was also a regular on Nine’s The Verdict hosted by Karl Stefanovic.
Hanson, after announcing she was running for the Senate, refused to respond when asked last year by BuzzFeed whether she was being paid for her public appearances.
“I don’t see it is any of your or the public’s business whether I am paid or not … It’s no one’s concern about any arrangements that I may have,” she said.
Her appearances on Sunrise and Today to spout her opinions following the Paris attacks in November also prompted widespread anger.
“Hanson isn’t an expert on terrorism, international conflict or radicalisation,” Osman Faruqi wrote for SBS.
“She’s a right-wing candidate for election adept at maximising the opportunities afforded to her by commercial networks keen to attract viewers in a contested marketplace.
“There is absolutely no public interest defence for the decision to provide someone with such appalling views a megaphone immediately following a terrorist attack.”
While many would agree with this interpretation, it did nothing to stop her from continuing to bob up on telly.
If Hanson’s election win is anything to go by, it appears Sunrise got their money’s worth — and she’d be no doubt pretty chuffed with her end of the deal.