One Nation leader Pauline Hanson claims she traveled to Uluru to “listen to Traditional Owners” but the Indigenous group who invited her are not convinced.
The Queensland senator traveled to the Northern Territory with the tabloid TV show A Current Affair as part of her campaign to keep the site open for climbing.
Uluru is considered sacred by Anangu Traditional Owners and in line with their wishes the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park will close the climbing route in October.
On Monday night the Nine Network broadcast footage which showed Ms Hanson verbally confronting a group of young Indigenous women, then attempting to climb the rock.
On Tuesday, a member of the group who invited Ms Hanson to visit Uluru said she was frustrated by the television coverage.
Tjimpuna Ruby, the youngest member of a Facebook group calling itself the ‘Anangu Mayatja Council of Elders’, told NITV News that the A Current Affair story “did not accurately reflect the intentions” of the group.
“It did not say for Anangu side [point of view] and I had a hard time trying to think why, because when we invited her out to meet with us Anangu and learn as to why we were closing the climb – our voice never got told through their current affairs show last night,” she said.
The Facebook group is not a formally recognised Indigenous organisation, but is made up of 15 people across the tri-state, including South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Members of the group invited Senator Hanson to visit Uluru last month after she compared banning the climb to closing Sydney's Bondi Beach.
Ms Ruby said they had hoped Ms Hanson would gain a better understanding of the cultural significance of the site.
“We can sit across the table for a long time… But she (Senator Hanson) didn’t have that opportunity and a chance to come out to Uluru – this was the first time… So she came so she could learn and really see for herself as to why us Anangu people would like to close the climb.”
Until its closure, anyone is legally able to proceed to climb the rock without seeking permission of the Traditional Owners.
The federal Labor Party has since put out a statement supporting the closure of the climb, labeling Senator Hanson’s televised climb a “divisive stunt.”
Parks Australia also put out a statement and said the Anangu community asked visitors to do the right thing and choose not to climb.
The Nine Network has been contacted for comment.
Senator Hanson did attempt to climb Uluru - but made it only partway up, later conceding that she understands if the climb were to close due to 'safety reasons.'
“I couldn’t believe how steep the climb is,” she said.