Today show entertainment reporter Brooke Boney has said she is “so happy” to see Pauline Hanson dumped from Nine’s breakfast show, following the comments she made about the public housing residents in lockdown in Melbourne.
Boney, a Gamilaroi woman, told the ABC’s Q&A program she was “completely heartbroken” to hear Hanson calling the residents of public housing in lockdown “alcoholics and drug addicts” who “cannot speak English”.
“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’,” Boney said.
“And that’s disgusting”.
“I’m all for free speech and I think that people, when they have different perspectives and different opinions, that most of the time it does help drive argument forward or debate forward or policy forward.
“But when you use it to vilify people or to be deliberately mean and mean-spirited, that to me is disgusting.”
What can be done to protect the residents of Melbourne’s locked down towers from further vilification? And what can be to ensure these residents have access to daily necessities? #QandA pic.twitter.com/5u5kLbJz5I— QandA (@QandA) July 6, 2020
Labor MP Terri Butler said Hanson’s racist comments were nothing new and television programs like the Today show were responsible for elevating her views.
“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’,” Butler said.
“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.”
In a statement, Nine’s director of news and current affairs Darren Wicks said Hanson’s comments on Monday were ill-informed and divisive.
“We don’t shy away from diverse opinions and robust debate on the Today show,” he said. “But this morning’s accusations from Pauline Hanson were ill-informed and divisive. At a time of uncertainty in this national and global health crisis, Australians have to be united and supportive of one another. We need to get through this together.”
Hanson’s dumping from the Today show comes after she was given a regular Monday morning slot on the show last year. Previously, she had left Seven’s Sunrise following an on-air discussion with co-host David Koch about the Christchurch massacre and immigration.