Politics

Pauline Hanson Got Smacked Down By ASIO And It Was Very Satisfying To Watch

She keeps finding new and unique ways to embarrass herself in parliament.

Look, if you’re starting to get Pauline Hanson-fatigue, we get it. It’s been a long 11 months since Hanson and her band of merry terrible men were elected. But because the senator who called Islam a disease “we need to vaccinate ourselves against” wields a bunch of political power, we need to keep calling out her attempts to legitimise racial persecution and peddle misinformation.

After comically investigating the nature of life itself earlier this week, Hanson had another crack at Senate Estimates, this time with the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee and Duncan Lewis, the boss of Australia’s spy agency, ASIO.

While some senators raised tangible concerns, such as the recently handed down Lindt Siege coroner’s report, and the exact number of returned Australians from the main Islamic State conflict zone (around 40 over the last five years, if you’re interested), you’ll never guess where Hanson went!

The One Nation leader kicked things off by asking whether all four of the terrorist attacks, and the twelve that were thwarted, in Australia were planned by Muslims. She found out from Lewis that a) no, there’s been at least one thwarted attack planned by a far-right extremist and b) religion is not a factor in ASIO investigations, only a propensity for terrorism.

“ASIO does not make its inquiries or its assessments on the basis of somebody’s religion, we are only interested in people who are exhibiting or offering violence, and to the extent that there is violent extremism, which is very frequently inspired by a warped version of Sunni Islam, that’s when our interests are invoked,” Lewis explained.

In the most outwardly bullshit suggestion, Hanson later asked whether “Middle Eastern refugees” are bringing terrorism to Australia.

You know, those people who, by definition, are fleeing for their lives from this kind horror.

“These people fleeing terror… they’re the ones with the bombs yeah?”

Lewis, Australia’s Director-General of Security at ASIO, and an established expert across all national security matters, dismissed the suggestion out of hand: “I have absolutely no evidence to suggest there’s a connection between refugees and terrorism.”

Undeterred, Hanson kept peddling general nonsense instead of touching on anything resembling effective counter-terrorism inquiries:

Hanson: “Is ASIO concerned of women wearing the full burqa in some areas for security reasons?”

Lewis: “We’ve made it plain on a number of occasions Senator, that we have no security reason to be concerned about the wearing of burqa other than the requirement for individuals to identify themselves to authorities and there are regulations in place for that.”

Hanson [clutching at straws]: “One last question, are you aware that in Canada there has been an increased number of children born there to refugees who are actually converting to radical Islam? And is that happening here in Australia?”

“uh uh but my friend in CANADA said refugees are bad, so yeah riddle me THAT?”

Lewis: “Well I’m not familiar with the Canadian experience and I see no evidence of it here Senator.”

“Jesus Christ guys I have fucking work to do, I mean Jesus Christ.”

So never mind the fact that, again, refugees the ones fleeing persecution and war, so are overwhelmingly victims of terrorism. Or the fact Australia has rewarded one particular type of asylum seekers with four years of mental and physical torture, murder and self-immolation.

Or that, of the small percentage of Australian Muslims who have joined terrorist groups, its almost always young, marginalised men that have been pushed “to the margins of society“, and that deradicalisation requires positive alternatives and open communication.

No, the real problem here is apparently the innocent people fleeing war or a goddamn piece of clothing.