Pauline Hanson, The Today Show & the Uluru backlash

Pauline Hanson, the Today Show & the Uluru backlash

Pauline Hanson
Inviting Pauline Hanson on national television to share her views on a matter pertaining to cultural sensitivity around a landmark sacred to Indigenous Australians? Sadly, it says it all.  None of it good.

May as well just pour rocks of salt straight into the metaphorical wounds of the traditional owners of the land.

Channel 9’s Today Show has faced a steady barrage of criticism since it broadcast an all-white panel discussion on Monday morning regarding the closure of Uluru for climbing from October.

Between Hanson, Steve Price and Today co-host Deborah Knight the absence of an Indigenous Australian from the conversation on Monday was conspicuous.

The Anangu traditional owners of Uluru and the surrounding area have been requesting people not climb Uluru because it’s a sacred site for years.

Their wish will finally be realised in three months time, when it’s closed for good, but not before record numbers of tourists have flocked to the site to climb it before they ‘miss out’.

Doing exactly what the traditional owners have asked you not to do is beyond the comprehension of many Australians.

But it’s the idea of preserving this landmark, respecting its significance and the wishes of the traditional owners that is beyond the comprehension of the leader of One Nation.

“I just don’t get it, I really don’t get it,” Pauline Hanson said. “We’re going to close down Bondi Beach because there are some people that have drowned? How ridiculous is that?

I can’t see the cultural sensitivity when people have been climbing the rock for all these years, and all of a sudden they want to shut it down? I don’t get it, I really don’t get it, and how are they going to pay back the Australian taxpayer?”

Later in the morning the Today show’s entertainment reporter Brooke Boney, a Gamilaroi woman, was asked to share her views.

“This isn’t Indigenous people having some sort of say over what happened on their lands, they’re sacred sites,” Boney said. “The thing about [Uluru] is it is so sacred to them every time someone gets injured or hurt or has to be airlifted out … it hurts them and they say that the ancestors mourn the loss of those people. They are not doing it to be nasty or protective of themselves, they are doing it to protect others.”

Why wasn’t Boney invited to take part in the earlier interview?

The show’s executive producer, Steven Burling, defended the decision to have Hanson on to Guardian Australia.

“Whatever your personal views on these senators [who appear on Today], clearly they resonate with a large proportion of Australia and they are articulating a whack of mainstream Australia’s views. But they are also challenged when they are on, they don’t get an easy ride.”

If these views, that so willingly dismiss and ridicule even the idea of being respectful, are mainstream, they need to be challenged not broadcast further.

On Tuesday morning on the program Deborah Knight explained the show had been inundated with feedback following Hanson’s appearance.

Today the Northern Territory Senator Malarndirri McCarthy was the guest invited to make a contribution.

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