No place for politics of paranoia | Young at Heart

Perhaps it’s time for Pauline Hanson to read up on the constitution before she opens her mouth again on the subject of all things Muslim. The Australian Constitution, Section 116, states “the Commonwealth cannot legislate in respect of religion”.

I cannot believe that I have actually had recent conversations with people who I consider reasonably educated, who blithely throw around the words “Sharia law” and loudly proclaim that “we don’t want to see that happen in this country”.

Where are they coming from? There is no way in a hundred years that Sharia law can be introduced under the Australian Constitution. There are enough constitutional lawyers in Australia to make sure that can never happen, now or in the future, and there are even fewer Muslims who would want to see that law introduced into Australia.

The Pauline Hansons of the world feed into fear and paranoia. Hanson used the same technique 20 years ago to condemn Asian immigration and multiculturalism.

Have we suffered from that “invasion”, as she termed it, or have we benefited by the culture, the food, the energy, the ambition they have brought to this country?

Hanson appears to have little understanding of any topic that has genuine empirical evidence behind it. Her recent outbreak condemning childhood vaccinations was a prime example. Reputable scientists have demolished the anti-vaxxers for presenting “credible” arguments without supporting evidence. Hanson attempted to link autism to vaccines. She advised parents to do their own research. Surely she would be aware of any number of non-credible sites on the web still pushing their own unauthenticated studies into vaccinations. The example Hanson used was discredited years ago, and the author of that report, Dr Andrew Wakefield, deregistered from the medical registry in 2010.

To Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s credit, he debunked her arguments and announced over the weekend that parents who don’t vaccinate their children will be denied entry into crèches, kindergartens and, eventually, schools. Medical conditions are the exception.

The latest rant from Hanson is aimed at the Family Court,  which she believes should be abolished. She suggests in its place a “family tribunal” consisting of people from mainstream Australia, rather than judges. 

One lawyer said: “Pauline Hanson’s recent diatribe in the Senate, which attacked the Family Court system, displayed an astonishing ignorance of family law practices. What is desperately needed is more funding to deal more swiftly with mediation and collaborative law.”

Hanson is also a climate sceptic, paying no heed to climate science and preferring that the Renewable Energy Target be abolished. She is calling for “biased” climate science to be removed from school syllables and, for good measure, a review of the CSIRO.

She has called for the abolition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, repeal of native title and reversal of wik legislation. She also appears to be a fervent admirer of brutal Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Arthur Sinodinos recently praised Hanson for her more sophisticated and mature approach today. Everyone knows the Liberals desperately needed her preferences. And he ended up just sounding foolish.

Hanson loves to refer to “our Australian values”. It would be fascinating to see exactly what she lists under that heading.