Politics

Pauline Hanson Reckons Some Domestic Violence Victims Are Just Making It Up

Luckily, ScoMo has appointed her to lead an inquiry into the Family Court system.

Pauline Hanson discusses climate change

Pauline Hanson is saying things again. And unfortunately, as she is still a prominent figure in Australian federal politics, we all have to hear about it.

This morning Hanson was a guest on ABC’s RN Breakfast, speaking about the recently announced federal inquiry into Australia’s family law system.

The One Nation leader had been pushing for this inquiry for a while, despite a review having just been conducted by the Australian Law Reform Commission and the results released in April.

The new review will be undertaken by a joint parliamentary committee over 12 months, with Hanson co-chairing. According to Hanson it will be a “holistic inquiry”, including an examination of 50/50 custody and domestic violence orders: Two issues on which she has very strong, strangely formed opinions.

“The ALRC, their recommendation, one of them was no longer 50/50 custody. I think that’s unfair and unjust to those parents out there,” said Hanson to the ABC’s Hamish Macdonald.

“I think that if you can be joint custody of the children prior to separation, why shouldn’t you afterwards? Unless there is drug, alcohol abuse, criminal offence or domestic violence order prior to separation.

“I’m hearing of too many cases where children, or parents I should say, are using domestic violence to stop the other parent from seeing their children. Perjury is in our system, but they’re not charged with perjury.”

“You’re saying these are false claims of domestic violence?” asked Macdonald, doing an excellent job of sounding much less baffled than the majority of listeners must feel.

“Most definitely. Yes,” replied Hanson, while refusing to show any evidence to back up her claim.

It’s a bold and dangerous claim, particularly as fearing that they won’t be believed is just one of the massive hurdles preventing survivors from reporting domestic violence. However when asked for evidence to back up her statement, Hanson merely invoked her personal experience with her son — in which she states charges were laid and dropped — as well as unspecified “cases”.

“These domestic violence orders can be as little as sending text messages saying that you want to actually see your child, [or asking] how is a child. That’s classified as domestic violence. Domestic violence is not all about physical violence.” Hanson proceeded to give an imagined scenario of someone claiming their partner tried to bash down their door, when in actuality said partner was “miles away”.

“This is happening all the time and clients are using it, those people are using these threats or these domestic violence orders to support their case why that parent shouldn’t see the children. I think this is so wrong.”

When pushed for evidence of false domestic violence allegations being a widespread phenomenon in custody disputes, Hanson was unable to provide any. Instead she continued to speak in generalities, simply stating that she had “submissions from people that this is the case”.

Senator Hanson also claimed that three men are suiciding every day over family law disputes. A fact check by The Conversation back in 2017 found there is not enough evidence support this claim.

What there is enough evidence to support are the statistics Macdonald put to Hanson that one woman is killed every week due to domestic violence in Australia, and that most violent perpetrators are men.

Hanson responded by saying that men can be victims of domestic violence too, which nobody was disputing, but which is also kind of like complaining that dinner is burnt while the whole house is on fire.

“I’m sick of hearing about this gender basis,” said Hanson, righteously ignoring the fact that gender is an inescapably pertinent factor in domestic violence cases.

“If I’m actually going to be upfront and say what I want to be looked at, [it’s] that if people make false allegations, you’re going to be held responsible for it,” Hanson told Macdonald. “You’re not going to take your lies into that courtroom so that you’ll game the system of possibly more time with your children. That’s not the way it works.”

Well, at least she’s right about one thing: That’s not the way it works.