By Belinda Cleary

‘Don’t marginalise Pauline Hanson or her supporters’: Former PM John Howard warns politicians One Nation supporters are ‘not racists or bigots’

  • John Howard says demonising Pauline Hanson 20 years a go was a mistake
  • He has warned Parliament not to do it again – following her maiden speech
  • Ms Hanson said Australia is in danger of being swamped by Muslims
  • Her maiden speech during the Howard years warned of Asian immigrants

Former prime minister John Howard has warned it would be wrong to repeat the mistake of 20 years ago and try to marginalise Pauline Hanson and her supporters.

Senator Hanson caused a stir on Wednesday night with her first speech declaring Australia is in danger of being swamped with Muslims – 20 years after making the same warning about Asians.

Mr Howard told ABC TV, Senator Hanson was entitled to be treated in a respectful fashion by the rest of parliament.


In relation to Pauline Hanson, the mistake that was made 20 years ago of trying to demonise her and demonise her supporters should not be repeated,’ Mr Howard said.

He argued that people who voted for Senator Hanson were not racists or bigots and did not vote for her because of their views on immigration.

‘They voted for her because they’re unhappy with the mainstream political parties,’ Mr Howard said.

A form of disillusionment or protest vote, yes.’

It reflected poorly on the Greens that they walked out early, he said.

Special Minister of State Scott Ryan said he profoundly disagreed with Senator Hanson’s call to end immigration.

‘I’m a strong supporter of our non-discriminatory immigration policy, it’s incredibly successful and serves Australia well,’ he told ABC Radio.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale defended his party’s walkout during Senator Hanson’s ‘vulgar speech’.

‘We wouldn’t dignify it by staying in there,’ he told Sky New

Labor frontbencher Tony Burke says the silliest argument anyone could make about Senator Hanson was to claim she was stupid.

‘She is smart, she is strategic, she is calculating,’ he said.

‘Pauline Hanson wanted the exact conversation across Australia that we’re having now, that the media is running.’