Pauline Hanson has accused the government of “blackmailing” parents, thrown her support behind cuts to penalty rates, and said Australians want a strong leader like Russian President Vladimir Putin, all in the space of a single interview.
Speaking to the ABC on Sunday, Senator Hanson said the Turnbull government was behaving like a “dictatorship” by threatening to withdraw welfare payments from families which chose not to immunise their children.
“Don’t do that to people. That’s a dictatorship,” she said. “I hear from so many parents, where are their rights?”
The One Nation leader accused Labor and the unions of hypocrisy in the rate cut, saying in her fish and chip shop she had to pay $34 an hour in wages where the McDonald’s down the road only paid $26.
“Where is the union jumping up and down about that with the battlers?” Senator Hanson asked.
“This government is doing nothing about addressing this whole issue and Labor are a bunch of hypocrites,” she said.
The Fair Work Commission ruled Sunday penalty rates for workers in retail, hospitality and fast food should be dropped to bring them closer to Saturday pay levels.
Asked how she felt about the low-paid people who voted for her taking a cut after this decision, Senator Hanson said: “They are getting their wage.”
“If you look at penalty rates and why it was brought in, because people had a full-time job through the week and they worked weekends,” she said.
“You went out to dinner on a weekend, that was something special. Now it’s become a way of life.”
She believed the wages cut would give small business owners a helping hand, making it more likely they would open on a weekend, give staff more hours and possibly employ new people.
Hanson backs Putin
While former Prime Minister Tony Abbott sensationally promised to ‘shirtfront’ Mr Putin over Russian involvement in the MH17 disaster, Ms Hanson praised him as patriotic, well-liked and an example of the strong leadership many voters wanted to see from their politicians.
“I listened to a speech he gave in Parliament,” Senator Hanson explained.
“Even the people here in Australia were saying, ‘I wish we had a leader like that here, I wish someone would stand up and fight for this country’. That’s what the people expect.
“I think he is a strong man and I think what I was reading is about 97 per cent of people in his country respect him as a leader for their nation,” Senator Hanson said.
When the credibility of the poll was questioned, Senator Hanson quipped: “Do you believe everything you read?”
The comments drew a strong response from the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
“Vladimir Putin’s Russia is subject to international sanction to which Australia is a party because of his conduct in shooting down the [Malaysian Airlines flight] MH17, in which 38 Australians were killed,” he said.
He also tackled the One Nation leader over her vaccination comments.
“If parents choose not to vaccinate their children they are putting their children’s health at risk and every other person’s children’s health at risk too,” he told reporters in the central Queensland town Barcaldine.
“It is a vital health objective to ensure that everybody is vaccinated.”
Senator Hanson revealed last year to Sky News that she still believed vaccines may cause autism, despite that myth being comprehensively debunked.
Bill Shorten slammed her comments on Facebook writing: “One Nation’s campaign of misinformation is plain dangerous.”
Health Minister Greg Hunt also shot down the claim. Mr Turnbull and Mr Hunt both highlighted the success of the “no jab no pay” policy, saying it had led to an extra 200,000 children being vaccinated over the past year.
Taxing times for PM
Senator Hanson also warned that her party’s support for the government’s $50 billion plan to lower the company tax rate to 25 per cent over the next decade cannot be guaranteed.
Labor and the Greens oppose the cuts, meaning the government needs the support of One Nation and the Nick Xenophon Team in the Senate.
“We will leave the negotiations to the Senate, see what develops,” the Prime Minister said.
Asked on ABC television if One Nation was supporting the company tax cut, Senator Hanson said: “It’s not guaranteed, no.”