Pauline Hanson has been branded a “racist” after storming out of the Senate during the Welcome to Country acknowledgement.
Senate President Sue Lines acknowledged the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples as the traditional custodians of the Canberra area and paid respect to elders past and present during the opening of Wednesday’s sitting.
But before Senator Lines could complete the acknowledgment, the One Nation leader interrupted.
“No, I won’t,” she yelled, adding, “I never will.”
Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe, a proud Djab Wurrung Gunnai Gunditjmara woman, quickly condemned the “disrespectful” move and slammed Senator Hanson’s actions on Twitter.
“Day two of the 47th parliament and racism has reared its ugly head,” she tweeted.
Pauline Hanson, you are ignorant and you are racist.
— Senator Lidia Thorpe (@SenatorThorpe) July 26, 2022
“Pauline Hanson disrespectfully stormed out of the acknowledgement of Country in the Senate, refusing to acknowledge ‘those people.’ You want to make parliament safe? Get rid of racism.”
As is tradition in the Houses of Parliament, the Welcome to Country is given daily after the Lord’s Prayer.
The acknowledgment was made a permanent feature of daily Parliament proceedings in 2010 after the election of the Gillard government.
Senator Hanson has been a member of the upper house since 2016, with colleagues saying she has sat through years of daily acknowledgments without any interjections.
In a statement, a spokesman for Senator Hanson said she would “refuse” to acknowledge country in the Senate.
“Senator Hanson considers that ‘acknowledgement of country’ perpetuates racial division in Australia,” the spokesman said.
“Like many non-indigenous Australians, Senator Hanson considers this country belongs to her as much it does belong to any other Australian, Indigenous or otherwise.”
“From this point forward, Senator Hanson will refuse to acknowledge country in the Senate.”
Senator Hanson’s defiance has caused a flood of criticism online, with many calling the One Nation leader a “racist”: a title she has been branded with sporadically throughout her political career.
Image credits: Getty Images
This article first appeared on OverSixty.