‘You have no idea’: Hanson explodes
PAULINE Hanson appears to have softened her stance on climbing Uluru, but Melbourne talkback radio host Neil Mitchell says her trip to Australia's Red Centre was "a stunt".
Senator Hanson has been pushing to keep Uluru open for climbers ahead of an upcoming ban on climbing the sacred indigenous site in the Northern Territory.
She travelled to Uluru with a crew from A Current Affair this week and returned with a new-found respect for the rock - if only for its steepness.
When asked by Today host Georgie Gardner this morning if she had changed her mind on the climbing ban, Senator Hanson said, "I can see the sense in banning the climbing of the rock due to safety reasons.
"I did not believe how - I couldn't believe how steep the climb is. There's only a chain going up it. If you actually start to slip or fall … 35 people have lost their lives on that rock."
But it wasn't long before the 3AW breakfast host pushed Senator Hanson to the point of an ugly outburst.
"Pauline is entitled to do it and says she was welcome by the local people. We're having a bob each way. If you're worried about the respect, do you want it open or not?" he said.
"If you are going to open it, are you going to carve steps into the rock? Don't fiddle with the rock. It's a beautiful thing."
The pair clashed over whether Senator Hanson spoke to the "board of management".
"You have to sit down with the board of management and go through what their problems are - see if it can be sorted out and respect their wishes," Mitchell said.
Senator Hanson responded by telling the broadcaster: "You have no idea what you're talking about."
"I have an idea," Mitchell said. "It's not about me, it's about the Aboriginal people. Is it still Bondi Beach or not? Is it still Bondi Beach or not? That's what you said before you went there. It's different."
Asked to give the final word, Mitchell told the program Senator Hanson's visit to Uluru was "a stunt".
"You didn't learn anything and I still don't know where you stand on it," he said.
"You're a fool," Senator Hanson fired back.
"I'm a fool. Let's abuse me and avoid the issue," Mitchell said.
The A Current Affair segment was Senator Hanson's idea, but Channel 9 did pay for some of the costs to get the controversial senator to the outback.
She was met with some hostility when she arrived at the site, with a group of young female cafe workers labelling her stance disrespectful.
"I'm indigenous," she told them. "I was born here. I'm native to the land. I'm Australian as well and I'm indigenous as well."
Senator Hanson said traditional owners and local elders had expressed concern to her about "outside Aboriginals" taking the bulk of jobs at Uluru.
The cafe workers she spoke to admitted they were not from the Northern Territory.
"Aboriginals from outside are coming to take jobs from the locals. The locals aren't getting the jobs here and what's what they're worried about," she said.
When it came time for Senator Hanson to climb the rock, she found it harder than expected.
A short distance up, she was forced to stop because her shoes weren't gripping and she was worried about slipping.
"Seriously, I cannot walk down here. My boots are that bloody old. They're so smooth I'm not getting any grip. I tell you what, I'm not getting any grip on my backside either."
Social media reacted swiftly to the segment, with Twitter users slamming Senator Hanson ignoring requests not to climb Uluru.