Sunrise host David Koch has challenged One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson over her controversial maiden speech in Parliament, in which she claimed Australia was being “swamped by Muslims”.
Hanson’s address on Wednesday evening prompted several Greens senators to walk out in protest against racism in Australia.
Koch’s co-host Natalie Barr began the Thursday morning interview with Hanson by asking her whether “swamped” was the right word given the latest census found that “Muslims make up 2.2 per cent of the population”.
“I’ve read 2.4 per cent Nat and what I’m also understanding is that they’re having a lot of children as well,” Hanson responded.
The controversial senator said she’d encountered many Lebanese Christians who’d had their countries “destroyed by Islam” and regularly approached her on the street to say, “Pauline you are so right”.
“Pauline, I agree with a lot of what you are saying,” Koch said.
“I would help drive migrants back to the airport with you if they did not respect this country and our culture. It is a privilege to be allowed to come here.”
Koch’s offer to drive migrants to the airport sparked plenty of humorous comments on social media from people wanting free lifts.
Would @kochie_online drive me to the airport tonight, I need a lift. I can disrespect Australia, whatever you need
— Kaitlyn Plyley (@kplyley) September 15, 2016
Im interested in @kochie_online and Pauline Hanson's free airport transfer service. Does it do returns as well?
— BRIGGS AKA BIG SIGH (@BriggsGE) September 14, 2016
I was born here, but respect Australia a lot less since your last show @kochie_online Could you give me a lift to the airport?
— Floyd the K (@floydthek) September 15, 2016
Koch, who has four adult children, continued on to say Hanson’s comments put his own family at risk.
“I have a mixed race family, I have a Sri Lankan son-in-law who walks down the street and people say, ‘Get out of here you terrorist, you’ve got no right to be here’,” Koch said.
“I have grandkids who will grow up like that. It upsets me, because you feed into that.”
“Kochie, I am sorry if it comes across like that. It is not my intention,” Hanson responded.
“But you give ammunition to people to do that,” Koch hit back. “
Barr posed the question of how Australians could “meet in the middle” to resolve issues of racial tension.
“The only way you will find the answers is to raise the issues and then start to debate them,” Hanson said.
Watch the full interview below:
— 7 News Queensland (@7NewsQueensland) September 14, 2016