‘Don’t speak English’: Hanson’s rant
One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson has gone on a spectacular offensive against the Melbourne residents trapped inside nine housing commission towers, calling them "drug addicts" and saying they should have learnt English before coming to Australia.
On the Today show this morning, co-host Ally Langdon put it to the Senator that some of the tower residents hadn't had a proper meal since Saturday.
"Ah come on Ally, we've seen food being delivered there," she replied. "The fact is a lot of them are drug addicts as well, they are getting their medication, they are alcoholics so they're being looked after in that way.
"They are actually getting paid extra money. Why are they getting paid extra money? For what? They are not leaving the premises."
Senator Hanson went on to say that an inability to speak English had led to the towers being shut down.
"A lot of these people are from non-English speaking back grounds, probably English is their second language who haven't adhered to the rules of social distancing. They all used a lot of the same laundry," she said.
"So the fact is you've got to look at why they are in that situation. Why is it they are in that situation? Why has the Government gone to this high-rise building and shut it down? Possibly because a lot of these people weren't doing the right thing.
"Is the Government worried about the other areas that are shut down? You know, the people in their homes, are they able to actually get out and buy the food as well? There has to be a reason why they have targeted this set of blocks, apartment blocks. Ask that question."
She then suggested refugees from war-torn countries should be able to withstand being locked up.
"You know, these people, I saw them taking a truck load of food to them, all the rest of it, if they are from war torn countries, which some of these people are, they know what it is like to be in tough conditions," she said.
"So I'd say, you know, have a look at the facts before you criticise and that aspect and I think the governments and all of these other, you know, these interest groups an everyone will make sure they're well looked after."
Asked whether she had a heart, Senator Hanson replied that she did. But said she also had "common sense".
"The fact is that we're sick and tired of people bleeding bloody hearts out there," she said. "This is a shutdown because the rest of the state has been locked off from the rest of the country.
"We don't want the Victorians up here in Queensland as our premier has said. Until they clean this up, what do you think is going to happen to those people that can't go back to their jobs, who have actually been isolated themselves, who went this isn't one area that's being isolated, we have got a lot of Victoria that is being isolated because these people, who cannot speak English, don't know what the hell to do."
It was put to her that authorities could have done better in reaching out to the tower residents in their native language. But Senator Hanson wasn't having a bite of it.
"Why should we? Why should we put everything out in someone else's language when you come to Australia," she said.
"We should not be putting out literature in their own language. Learn to speak English when you come here to this country. That's a big problem that we have in Australia."
Stellar magazine editor-in-chief Sarrah Le Marquand put it to Senator Hanson that it was "unacceptable that we are standing by and watching citizens being treated this way".
However, Senator Hanson argued the Australian public has already been through a lockdown and this was no different.
"We've gone through months of people, the public being locked up," she said. We've gone through months where people couldn't go to the park, gyms, couldn't go to the park, gyms, couldn't go any where.
Pauline Hanson has made a number of controversial comments on Melbourne's public housing quarantine this morning. What do you think? Has the One Nation leader gone too far? #9Today pic.twitter.com/ZsLEAYyB2Q— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) July 5, 2020
"Australian people have been locked up in their homes for ages. What are you going on about now? Because they're locked up in their homes, because they live in apartment buildings, they live in apartment buildings, the Government has taken food to them, they get paid extra money, they are getting methadone, they are given the drugs, they are looking after their addictions, what is your problem?
"We really need to clean up the COVID-19. Make up your mind. You either want to clean up COVID-19 or you don't. And you have to make the tough decisions if we are going to get this country back on track."
A resident inside one of the towers in Flemington, said Senator Hanson's comments were "disrespectful", and the way the Government has handled the lockdown was "unbelievable" and had not been done "in a humane way".
Girmay Mengesha told Today he went 24 hours without food and was unable to leave his home are for any reason. He believes the Victorian Government should have done things differently.
"Do it with dignity. Do it in a humane way," he said. "The way that they did it is
unbelievable, unwise and unacceptable."
Originally published as 'Don't speak English': Hanson's rant