Pauline Hanson has had a last-minute change of heart about climbing Uluru, saying she now understands why the practice will end in October.
Senator Hanson arrived in Uluru on Wednesday, intending to climb the rock, although strong winds in the area delayed her start.
On Thursday – after apparently making the climb – she told the ABC she now understood why climbing would be banned from October 26.
“It’s quite scary, I was surprised, I’d never been out there before,” she said.
“I respect the decision that there is not enough safety with regards to the rock. I respect the decision that their people, their kids, are not getting jobs. They’re bringing in Aboriginals from outside to fill the positions that should belong to their own people.”
After climbing Uluru and speaking with traditional owners yesterday, Senator Pauline Hanson has told the ABC that she…
The Senator told the ABC she would like to see the Uluru climb remain open, and would work with traditional owners to look at how safety could be improved.
Senator Hanson sought permission from traditional owners before attempting the climb on Wednesday. She said she had met traditional owners, and two of them – Reggie and Cassidy Uluru of the Anangu Mayatja Council of Elders – had given her permission.
She said the council had invited her to the area to discuss their future after her criticism of the decision to ban the climb.
In 2017, the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Board voted unanimously to close the climb in a decision widely welcomed by indigenous leaders who said it recognised the cultural significance of the site and would “right an historic wrong”.
More epic pics coming in from Uluru. Now just over 10 weeks until climb is closed. pic.twitter.com/u6atPzgDSv
— Oliver Gordon (@olgordon) August 16, 2019
As the deadline draws closer, however, the area has been overwhelmed with tourists. There have been complaints of tourists trespassing, camping illegally and dumping rubbish in an “influx of waste”.