Politics

Pauline Hanson Took A Break From Attacking Muslims To Have A Go At… Kids With Disabilities?

"We have to consider the impact they are having on other children."

Today our federal politicians spent a lot of time arguing about schools funding. The government has spent the past few months trying to get support for it’s controversial “Gonski 2.0” education reforms, and this week it’s all coming to a head.

While every party under the sun had some problem with the Government’s package, they also largely behaved in a reasonable manner. It’s been a pretty standard process of political negotiation around a pretty complex issue that weighs up the interests of public, private and Catholic schools. But everyone’s engaged pretty commendably.

At least until Pauline Hanson got involved.

Hanson used today’s education debate to discuss children with disabilities and, um, “do-gooder” teachers, in a baffling speech that’s light on details but, unsurprisingly, heavy on bigotry.

In her speech, the One Nation leader blamed children with disabilities for taking up too much time in the classroom.

Naturally, she then advocated taking children with disabilities out of classrooms:

“I hear so many times from parents and teachers whose time is taken up by children in the classroom where they have a disability, or whether they are autistic,” Hanson said. “These kids have a right to an education by all means.

“But if there is a number of them these children should actually go into a special classroom – looked after and given that special attention,” she continued. “It’s no good saying we’ve got to allow these kids to feel good about themselves, and we don’t want to upset them, and make them feel hurt.

“I understand that. But we have to be realistic at times and consider the impact they are having on other children in the classroom. We need to get rid of those people because you want everyone to feel good about themselves.”

Now, education for children with autism spectrum disorder is clearly a complex issue, and certain resources and training are sometimes required for both students with and without autism. Autism Spectrum Australia works towards the former, offering education specific to every level of development.

And in a pretty stellar example of the latter, Sesame Street introduced four-year-old Julia, their first muppet with autism, earlier this year with the goal to teach children about characteristics such as “challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviours, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as […] unique strengths and differences”.

But instead of advocating for anything, I don’t know, remotely positive, Hanson’s apparent plan? Take the kids out of class and pop them in a nice, one-size-fits all example of institutional discrimination, complete with zero thought towards how things currently work or the emotional damage removing children from classes can do.

Naturally, humans with brains/hearts/anything, anything at all inside of them, were rightly pissed off:

Please add “autism” to the list of things Pauline Hanson doesn’t understand but advocates against, and find out more about autism spectrum disorder at Autism Awareness Australia.