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The Racial Hatred Act: Case study 3

 case study3pauline hanson's maiden speech

Introduction:

  • media response to Pauline Hanson's maiden speech to Parliament
  • excerpts from Pauline
    Hanson's maiden speech

Reports/Comment:

Please note that none of the reports in the case studies have been the
subject of complaints or queries under the Racial Hatred Act.


Letters pages of
the daily newspapers are useful windows on public opinion and it is hardly
surprising that Hanson's speech motivated Australia's scribes on all sides
of the political divide. Here's how the Sydney Morning Herald's Debra Jopson
answered readers' criticisms of bias in her selection of letters on the
issue:


Sydney Morning Herald Logo

Letters to the Editor

September 13

Postscript

Our publication on Friday of three letters criticising Pauline Hanson's
speech drew a couple of conspiracy theorists. John Cosgrove, of Watson's
Bay, claimed that it showed "bias in the selection of items"
which threatened freedom and the fabric of democracy. Cheryl Winstanley,
of South Wentworthville, asked if we intended to print supportive letters.

R.E. Buchanan of Panania, thought we needed a big wastepaper bin (presumably
to throw out all the letters supporting Hanson). Well, no, the bin would
be minuscule, if it existed. A handful of letters sympathetic to Hanson
finally hit the desk on Friday. Only two gave reasons for this support.
One is published today.

The twenty-plus criticising Hanson had the attractive quality of going
on to say why.

It looks like "media bias" will be the cry whenever the spot-light
is thrown on Hanson. Toni Symonds, of Fennell Bay, wrote that when 2UE's
Alan Jones asked listeners to ting a "yes" or "no"
line on whether they agreed with her views, she tried but she could not
get through. Jones announced he got a 98 per cent "Yes "vote
and a 2 per cent "No".

The voters did not have to support their views with argument, unlike
our letter-writers.

In the meantime, as Peter Fay, of Leichhardt, wrote, "Where's Bronwyn?"

Debra Jopson, Acting Letters Editor

 

Hanson's speech

Independent MP Ms Pauline Hanson has brought disgrace to our Parliament
and embarrassed not only people in her electorate but most Australians
by her comments in her maiden speech.

She does not realise this country and its people have moved away from
an isolationist police. The vast majority of Australians are far more humane
and caring than she claims. Mr Howard should show leadership by condemning
her comments.

Hopefully we will not see her on the rostrum again.

Mark D'Souza, Camden

 

In reply to "Hanson speech hits a new low", may I state that,
although not agreeing with all that Ms Hanson said I, like most Australians,
believe that in the main, she speaks for the majority of Australians. Some
pressure groups might not like her sentiments but this is still a land
where we believe in free speech.

If Australia introduced Citizens Initiated Referenda, the people of
Australia could tell the politicians what we really think. This would be
most interesting.

Mainstream politicians should realise that they are there to represent
us, not to tell us what to do. I wish we had more like you, Pauline.

David Astin, Bankstown


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