Pauline Hanson has garnered significant Senate support in NSW, especially in the closest Coalition-held seats in outer-suburban, provincial and rural areas. Pauline Hanson was labelled a ‘racist redneck’ by an Indigenous leader when she attended an art fair in Cairns. Photo: Tertius Pickard
Pauline Hanson has attempted to extend an olive branch to the Aboriginal community after Indigenous leader and land rights activist Murrandoo Yanner labelled her a “racist redneck” at an event in far north Queensland.
Tensions rose after the incoming Queensland senator arrived unannounced with a 60 Minutes film crew at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair on Saturday.
“You picked on Aboriginal people, now you are kicking the Muslims around,” Mr Yanner yelled as Ms Hanson walked down a flight of stairs about 2.30pm.
“You are just a racist redneck with your red hair. Go away, go back to Ipswich and your fish and chip shop.
“You’re a disgraceful, you are a woman lacking moral fibre, you are intellectually dishonest and you are not welcome here.”
A large group of people watching broke into applause, with some cheering and whistling.
The incident was filmed and posted on Facebook where it quickly went viral. By 11am on Sunday, it had been watched almost 100,000 times, shared more than 14,000 times and liked more than 22,000 times.
Ms Hanson responded with her own video on Sunday, posted on her Facebook page Pauline Hanson’s Please Explain.
She said she had received “great support” from the Indigenous community at the art fair but was “really ashamed to see what happened with Murrandoo Yanner … and his abuse of me”.
“This man stands for a lot of issues that I stand for as well. He doesn’t like politicians; well, either [sic] do I because I don’t trust them and we need to work together on that,” Ms Hanson said.
“Let’s bring accountability. He doesn’t like the violence and alcoholism in Aboriginal communities – another one of my issues that I spoke out against and I got called racist. The fact is we have to work together.
“Murrandoo, please, let’s work together on these issues that are important to me; important to the Aboriginal people. I think the perception about me was wrong and I’m here to support the Aboriginal community and Torres Strait Islanders. I’m your representative.”
A spokeswoman for the art fair, who saw the incident unfold, said she was surprised the One Nation party leader didn’t stop to engage with Mr Yanner at the time.
“She made no attempt to respond to him. Most other politicians would have,” she said.
Ms Hanson then walked around the fair ground, stopping to talk with people and hold a baby in front of the cameras.
The tension remained high, with some patrons asking what she was doing at the Indigenous event, the spokeswoman said.
“It was a tense feeling in the crowd. They were certainly on their toes,” she said.
The spokeswoman said the 60 Minutes crew had not sought accreditation before arriving to film at the event, causing concern for organisers.
Social media users also questioned why the crew was there. My question is for the proven inept #60Minutes crew on why they thought Pauline Hanson at #FirstNation art fair, ok https://t上海龙凤419/viocBvKvd4— Paul Dutton (@pauldutton1968) July 17, 2016Why did Pauline Hanson even turn up to that Indigenous art fair? Beyond to cause trouble/get attention. Murrandoo Yanner is bang on.— Elxn-Winning Machine (@misskylie77) July 16, 2016Why ? Oh, wait. Staging Racism. – Hanson turned up with a @Channel9 crew at the Cairns Indigenous Arts Fair. https://t上海龙凤419/QlGbe3vWZa— Dameyon Bonson (@DameyonBonson) July 16, 2016
The spokeswoman said all members of the public were welcome at the fair, however, media were required to get clearance first.
Ms Hanson has made a political comeback after being elected to the senate in the July 2 federal election.
She used her maiden speech when elected to the House of Representatives in 1996 to criticise Aboriginal land rights, welfare and reconciliation.
More recently, she called for a ban on Muslim immigration to Australia after the Orlando nightclub shooting in America last month.
Ms Hanson has declined to comment on the incident.