One Nation clash

July 6, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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NSW Labor front bencher and Deputy Chair of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel, Walt Secord has expressed “deep disappointment” in what he perceived was NSW Premier Mike Baird’s “cozying up” to One Nation’s Pauline Hanson and her supporters, in the wake of the Federal election result.

Mr Secord condemned comments by One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson where she said parts of Australia such as the Sydney suburb of Hurstville was “swamped by Asians” .

However,  Premier Mike Baird said that One Nation Pauline Hanson was entitled to her views.

Walt Secord

Walt Secord

Mr Baird told Sydney reporters: “She has a right to make the comments she does … I don’t have to agree with them, and I imagine most of them I won’t agree with.” (ABC Radio – Sydney. 3pm. July 5, 2016)

Mr Secord said he was profoundly disappointed that Mr Baird had failed to outright condemn Pauline Hanson and reject her comments.

One Nation had elected a Senator in Queensland and was likely to elect an additional Senator in NSW and Western Australia.

Mr Secord said: “I am very disappointed by Mr Baird, trying to walk both sides of the street in NSW. We expect the Premier – regardless of whether they are Liberal, Labor, or National Party –  to totally repudiate Pauline Hanson and her divisive views.”

Premier Mike Baird studies the program   Photo: Henry Benjamin/J-Wire

Premier Mike Baird studies the program Photo: Henry Benjamin/J-Wire

“Premier Mike Baird’s comments remind me of Federal Attorney General, George Brandis who said in March 2014 that people had ‘a right to be bigots’ .”

“In NSW, Labor believes that you do not have a right to be a bigot.”

“The community deserves a Premier who stands up to the divisive views of One Nation.”

But Premier Mike Baird told J-Wire: “We have to respect that Ms Hanson was elected. She is allowed to express her views, however, I disagree with most of them and will vigorously put forward contrary views.”

We live in a multicultural society that is the envy of the world and there is no tolerance for racial vilification and hatred within our community.”

I would encourage Mr Secord to spend less time looking for political points and more time promoting social cohesion.”

 

Pauline Hanson

Pauline Hanson

In the meantime The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council’s Dr Colin Rubenstein and Jeremy Jones have issued statement declaring Pauline Hanson “has declared war on tolerance”.

“Racism and bigotry is always unacceptable, and it is additionally repugnant when espoused by an elected member of parliament,” Jones  the Director of International and of Community Affairs of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council said today.

“Even before votes have been tallied, Pauline Hanson has, in effect, declared war on Australian tolerance, community harmony and social cohesion, and her bigotry should be exposed for the evil which it is,” Jones, who was awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal in 2007, added.

Jeremy Jones

Jeremy Jones

“When Executive Council of Australian Jewry President, I successfully complained about One Nation’s Queensland Branch’s breach of anti-racism law, but even if One Nation activists had never promoted antisemitism we would be just as concerned with its return to political life”, he concluded.

Dr Colin Rubenstein

Dr Colin Rubenstein

Dr Colin Rubenstein, AIJAC’s Executive Director, added: “One Nation’s contemptible vilification and demonisation of Islam, Muslims, Asians and other minority groups must be repudiated. While One Nation has destructively exploited the apprehension of a number of Australians, the incoming government and parliament must be resolute in confronting racism in all its guises. It must strengthen community harmony and security and demonstrate an understanding of the real challenges our society confronts and develop an ability to address and overcome them.”

“It is not surprising, for example, that Pauline Hanson opposes protection of Australians from vilification and harassment, and her re-emergence in national politics yet again reinforces the value of these protections,” he said.

“We must not allow her to once again open the floodgates of hatred and empower malicious, racist elements, nor should she be allowed to masquerade as a voice of ordinary, civic-minded, decent Australians,” he concluded.