Australian Politics

Hanson takes aim at Africans

Former One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has attacked the influx of 'diseased' Africans shortly before announcing she'll stand at the next federal election.

In making the announcement, Ms Hanson did not say whether she would contest a lower house seat or nominate for a senate spot.

Asked why she wanted to return to politics, the former federal MP for the Queensland seat of Oxley said "Why not".

"It's up to the people of Queensland, or wherever I decide to stand, to decide whether they want me to have a voice in parliament for them," she said.

"And you know what, they feel they haven't got a voice and someone out there asking questions on their behalf."

She said the main issues she would be campaigning on were the industrial relations laws and the nation's water crisis.

"I've been on about water for many, many years -- but also immigration," she said.

'Diseased' Africans targeted

A decade after warning Australia was being swamped by Asians, the right-wing firebrand voiced concerns about Muslims and said diseased Africans should be barred from the country.

"We're bringing in people from South Africa at the moment, there's a huge amount coming into Australia, who have diseases, they've got AIDS," Ms Hanson said.

"They are of no benefit to this country whatsoever; they'll never be able to work.

"And what my main concern is, is the diseases that they're bringing in and yet no one is saying or doing anything about it."

A Department of Immigration spokeswoman rejected the claims, saying stringent health checks were carried out on all permanent and temporary residents.

Refugee groups were angered by Ms Hanson's comments, calling them "fanciful", damaging and hurtful to Africans who were simply trying for a life in Australia.

But Ms Hanson said politicians had gone too far in affording rights to minority groups and she was angered at the loss of Australian traditions because of Muslims.

"Our governments have bent over backwards to look after them
(Muslims) and their needs, and regardless of what the Australian people think," she said.

"You can't have schools not sing Christmas carols because it upsets others, you can't close swimming baths because Muslim women want to swim in private, that's not Australian.

"Surely, can't we look at what's happened in other countries around the world with the increase in Muslims that are there ...?"

Ms Hanson also objects to the Howard government's industrial relations (IR) laws, and said she had been encouraged to consider re-entering politics by the public who wanted her to represent the average "Joe".

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said earlier that although he disagreed with Ms Hanson's ideas, he supported her democratic right to run.

Ms Hanson failed to win re-election to parliament in 1998 and unsuccessfully stood for the Senate in Queensland three years later.

She served a short stint in a Queensland prison for electoral fraud in 2003 before the charges were overturned.

Ms Hanson says she plans to release a book early next year about her political life and time in jail.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch