Pauline Hanson booted from Today Show after backlash on Melbourne public housing comments

Pauline Hanson speaking on Nine's 'The Today Show'. Source: Nine's Today Show

The One Nation leader won’t be returning to Nine’s ‘Today Show’ after comments she made about residents under hard lockdown in Flemington and North Melbourne’s public housing estates. Hanson said they were from “war-torn countries”, and should be used to their current conditions.

Pauline Hanson labelled residents in the nine public housing estate towers "drug addicts" and "alcoholics" who can't speak English, in an interview this morning on Channel Nine's Today Show.

After widespread backlash across the morning, Channel Nine released a statement to announce that Hanson won't be joining the Today Show in the future.

"The Today Show has advised Pauline Hanson that she will no longer be appearing on our programme as a regular contributor," Darren Wick, Nine's Director of News and Current Affairs said in a statement.

Hanson's tirade began after host Alison Langdon discussed the hard lockdowns in public housing estates in Flemington and North Melbourne with the One Nation senator.

She was joined in the segment by Stella magazine's Sarrah Le Marquand.

Le Marquand raised concerns about the dangers of the lockdown administered by Victoria's Premier Daniel Andrews government to the 3,000 residents in the public housing towers.

But Hanson was keen to jump in to clarify why she believes it's justified.

"The fact is that a lot of them are drug addicts," Hanson said.

"They've actually met medication, they're getting the medication, they're actually alcoholics. So they've been looked after that way."

Hanson referenced the Victorian government's financial assistance of a one-off $1,500 payment for residents under lockdown in the public housing towers to aid those who cannot leave for work.

She suggested that residents hadn't adhered to social distancing rules because they don't speak English -- which is currently unproven.

"If they're from war-torn countries, which some of these people are, they know what it's like to be in tough conditions," Hanson said.

'Senator Hanson's remarks do not bear repeating'

There have been vocal critics of the decision Nine's Today Show made to invite Hanson on to speak about this topic on the program.

One Twitter user said, "Every time you give a platform to Pauline Hanson to spread hate about society's most vulnerable people, you make their life just that little bit harder again."

And social posts from Nine over the interview also came under fire. 

The tweet has since been deleted. 

Writer and lawyer Nyadol Nyuon took to Twitter to clarify some of Hanson’s unproven allegations about Victoria’s recent COVID-19 spike.

“It is utterly nonsensical to connect a lack of fluency in English with disregard for rules. The first disregard for the rules was from people protesting lockdown rules - that was a predominantly white crowd. No one connected their disregard for the rule with their ‘whiteness’,” Nyuon said.

The Australian Labor party also condemned Hanson's comments on the program. Labor's Andrew Giles, shadow minister for Multiculturalism, said communities in the public housing towers needed support.

"This morning Senator Pauline Hanson used an appearance on morning television to vilify people who have been subjected to lockdown restrictions because they live in one of the nine public housing towers in inner Melbourne," Federal Labor MP Andrew Giles said in a statement.

"Senator Hanson's remarks do not bear repeating, but her conduct must be condemned by all sides of politics."

The comments were condemned by Wick, Nine's News and Current Affair director, who called on Australians to be supportive and united during the current COVID-19 health crisis.

"We don't shy away from diverse opinions and robust debate on the Today Show. But this morning's accusations from Pauline Hanson were ill-informed and divisive," he said.

Pauline Hanson quit her regular spot on Seven's Sunrise in 2019, after host David Koch told Hanson on air that the manifesto of the alleged Christchurch shooter read like One Nation's immigration policy.