The first Indigenous woman elected into the House of Representatives has labelled Pauline Hanson ignorant, after the One Nation founder’s comments about Australia being “swamped by Asians”.
Linda Burney, the Labor MP for the southern Sydney seat of Barton, told Lateline: “You cannot excuse stupidity for ignorance and that’s what is being displayed.”
Ms Hanson made her first appearance in politics 20 years ago and has now been elected to the Senate.
She had previously criticised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for getting what she has referred to as special and preferential treatment.
Ms Burney said Ms Hanson had also claimed that Aboriginal people “ate their babies at some point in the distant past”.
Since her comeback at the weekend, Ms Hanson has called for a royal commission into Islam and said that some suburbs, like Hurstville, were being swamped by Asians.
Hurstville falls within Ms Burney’s electorate and she has praised its multiculturalism.
“It is one of the most dynamic, wonderful suburbs that you could go to. Pauline Hanson is speaking from a point of ignorance,” she said.
“There is no excuse for racism.”
Meanwhile, with nearly a quarter of voters turning away from the major parties at this election, Ms Burney said there was a lack of trust for politicians.
“People have grown to think that politicians are there for themselves, they’ve grown to distrust politicians, and I think one of the reasons that Labor did so well in this election is because we put as our slogan, people first,” she said.
Queensland Liberal Senator Matt Canavan also acknowledged that both sides of politics had not responded to the concerns of voters.
“In Central Queensland where I am, there is a great adjustment to the mining downturn and that does cause a level of anxiousness that we need to respond to and I will be upfront, I don’t think we’ve done a good job at responding to it on both sides of politics,” he told Lateline.
“We’ve got to do a better job.”