Pauline Hanson under fire for comments about autistic children

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and Opposition leader Bill Shorten condemn Pauline Hanson's suggestion that autistic children should be educated in "special classrooms".

Politicians have slammed Pauline Hanson’s suggestion autistic children be removed from mainstream classrooms to prevent other students from being held back.

Speaking in the Senate on Wednesday, Senator Hanson said parents were concerned teachers were being forced to spend too much time with autistic children at the expense of other students.

“These kids have a right to an education by all means, but if there is a number of them, these children should actually go into a special classroom, looked after and given that special attention,” she said.

“I think that we have more autistic children and yet we are not providing the special classrooms or the schools for these autistic children,” the Queensland senator said.

“It's no good saying we've got to allow these kids to feel good about themselves and we don't want to upset them and make them feel hurt.”

“We have to be realistic at times and consider the impact that is having on other children in that classroom.”

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young slammed Senator Hanson’s comments.

Soon after, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young condemned Senator Hanson’s comments.

“It’s disgusting that Pauline Hanson thinks kids with autism should not be in our classrooms ... what sort of woman is Pauline Hanson, what sort of mother? It is disgusting,” she said during a press conference at Parliament House.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten also criticised Senator Hanson’s comments, tweeting: “Heartbreaking and upsetting for parents of children with autism to hear Pauline Hanson say their kids don't deserve the same opportunity.”

Crossbench senator Jacqui Lambie said she believed having disabled children in mainstream classrooms was beneficial for all students, including those without disabilities.

"They learn compassion. They learn how to deal with these matters. It gives them coping mechanisms for the rest of their lives. Everybody wins out with this," she told parliament.

2 min read
Published 21 June 2017 at 4:58pm
By Lydia Feng