Australia

Pauline Hanson compares herself to Nelson Mandela

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Pauline Hanson has likened herself to former South African leader, Nelson Mandela, at the launch of her book, alongside former foe Tony Abbott.

Pauline Hanson says she's over the loathing she once felt for Tony Abbott - and the rest of Australia should get over it, too.

The One Nation leader invited Mr Abbott to launch her new book, Pauline, In Her Own Words, in Canberra on Tuesday.

It was a major backflip for Senator Hanson, who had blamed Mr Abbott for her brief stint in jail for electoral fraud before her conviction was quashed.

Senator Hanson says she called Mr Abbott last Thursday with a "cheeky" request for him to launch her book.

"Well you burst out laughing," she said.

"Whether he thought I was having a go at him I don't know."

She said both of them have had their ups and downs, praising Mr Abbott for not walking away when he lost the prime ministership.

She also likened her lengthy absence from parliament to the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela, the former South African president who spent decades in jail.

"It's a clear indication that we have stuck with what we believe in to work for the Australian people," Senator Hanson said.

"I think that like Nelson Mandela did, after 28 years in prison he forgave and he forgot and I think that's what we need to do."

Nelson Mandela, the former leader of South Africa.
Nelson Mandela, the former leader of South Africa.
Hulton Archive

The book launch love-in in Parliament House to mark a new compilation of the One Nation leader's speeches was a far cry from the "political witch-hunt" Senator Hanson accused Mr Abbott and John Howard of.

"Between Pauline and myself there has been a lot of dirty water under the bridge, but her willingness to let the past be the past is a sign of decency which is all too rare these days in our public life," Mr Abbott said.

Back in 1996, when Senator Hanson was a "lone voice crying in the wilderness", Mr Abbott thought she was damaging what he believed was the best conservative government in the nation's history.

Now she has worked with her colleagues constructively in the Senate to help the coalition government implement its agenda, he said.

"If I may say so, Pauline, adversity has made you a better, deeper person and you are certainly confirmation of that old adage that you are always better the second time around."

And while he insists he's fighting for the re-election of the Coalition, he agrees with many of Senator Hanson's ideas - namely scaling back immigration, building more coal-fire power stations, dams and recognising "we do have a problem with Islamism".

He is even making it his mission for the government to preference One Nation below themselves and above Labor and the Greens.

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Hanson says she's over loathing for Abbott

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