Today show entertainment reporter Brooke Boney has said she was “completely heartbroken” by One Nation leader Pauline Hanson’s comments on the Today show about Melbourne residents in public housing put into lockdown.
Nine’s Today show dropped Hanson as a “regular contributor” on Monday, after she described residents of public housing in Melbourne who are locked down due to Covid-19 as “drug addicts” who “cannot speak English”.
Boney, who is a Gamilaroi woman, told ABC’s Q+A program on Monday night that she was happy Hanson was dropped, noting Hanson had said hurtful comments about Aboriginal people in the past.
Boney said she grew up in public housing, and she was heartbroken to hear the comments.
“I felt completely heartbroken. I grew up in housing commission. To me, I was thinking about all of those kids sitting at home watching, all of those people trapped in their apartments, watching and thinking, ‘This is what Australia thinks of us. This is what the rest of our country thinks – is that we’re alcoholics and drug addicts.’
“And that’s disgusting.”
Boney said a lot of people support Hanson, and those perspectives should be heard, but Hanson had crossed into vilifying a whole group of people.
Labor MP Terri Butler said it was a cop-out to suggest Hanson’s comments were something new for her.
“She’s a public racist since 1996. She used her first maiden speech to say that we were in danger of being ‘swamped by Asians’ and used her second speech saying we were in danger of being ‘swamped by Muslims’.
“We’re not talking about someone who just woke up this morning a racist. Shows have been platforming her. Free speech is one thing, elevating racism in the discourse is another.”
Former Liberal minister Christopher Pyne said Hanson had been consistent in her beliefs in the last 20 years.
“I think that Pauline Hanson genuinely believes the things that she says, and she’s been quite consistent about it – consistently bad, right? – but she’s been consistent about it.”
Pyne later discussed the role finance minister Mathias Cormann played in the week Malcolm Turnbull was ousted as prime minister, and said he wondered whether it could have been different if Pyne had been able to talk to Cormann in person.
“I missed him several times on the phone, texting, WhatsApp … I very firmly am of the view that Mathias believed that he was acting in the best interests of the Liberal party, that he believed that Malcolm couldn’t win the next election, and he made an assessment that Peter Dutton would, and I think he was wrong.
“That’s why I didn’t support Peter Dutton – I supported Scott Morrison. The rest, of course, is history.”
“My view is that there’s a ministerial code of conduct, it has two arms – one of those arms is that I’m not allowed to lobby anybody in the department of defence, the minister for defence, their officers, for 18 months after I retire.
“And I have completely complied with that. And I’m not allowed to use information that became available to me as the minister for defence for commercial gain, and I’ve entirely abided by that.”
Pyne said he was offering EY his skills and expertise in understanding how government thinks “because it’s actually quite a valuable capability in the economy – knowing how government works, and using those skills.”