Most of Australia’s politicians wouldn’t cut it in Afghanistan because they’re “too lazy” and “out of condition” to handle the gruelling training required to enter the war zone, Pauline Hanson says.
The One Nation leader returned from an eight-day visit to Afghanistan on Wednesday where she underwent a three-day training course to learn how to handle a weapon and treat wounds that she says most pollies wouldn’t pass because “it’s hard work” and they’re “useless”.
While it’s a headline-grabbing line sure to bruise the egos of a few soft-bellied parliamentarians, Hanson’s mission to the war zone was for far more serious reasons.
Speaking to Starts at 60 on Friday, Hanson said it was imperative for Australian forces to stay in the region to stop the “tentacles” of ISIS and the Taliban spreading further afield and that Australians were “kidding themselves” if they think we’re going to leave the Middle East anytime soon.
“You can’t put a timeframe on this. If you think were going to pull out of there in a year or two years of five years you’re kidding yourself,” she said. “If we do not control it over there we are going to have their tentacles being ISIS and the Taliban in our country. This is a way of controlling it in the one location, in the one area, destroying it there so it doesn’t come to our country.”
Australia currently has 300 Australian Defence Force members in Afghanistan as part of the train, advise and assist mission. Despite polls showing the majority of Australians are against Australia’s mission in the Middle East, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull last year flagged “a long-term commitment” for Australian defence personnel in the region.
During her trip, Hanson met with Australian soldiers, many of whom she said were happy to be there.
“Morale was extremely high, they were thrilled to be there,” she said. “One soldier said to me ‘I am so happy to be here, this is what we have trained for’. It’s the height of their career and they can see what good they’re doing for the country.”
She chided those who criticised the military effort and said Afghanistan “can’t rebuild country without coalition forces”.
“Cynicism is from misinformation. There are people that are trying to stand on their own two feet to take back their country,” she said. “If we leave too early it will start up again.”
Nato’s mission in Afghanistan – named Resolute Support – comprises of 39 nations, and as of 2017 had about 13,576 boots are on the ground in the country.
Hanson says the success of the mission has direct repercussions on Australia’s own security, and that a win overseas could ward off terrorist attacks at home.
“If they know they have a win over in the Middle East it will affect Australia it will come here in a big way,” she said. “The ones here that are fanatical extremists will see it that as a big win over there and will start their issues here in this country.”