One Nation leader Pauline Hanson issued a damning speech in the Senate today, calling for Australia’s school kids to be taught discipline when they misbehave and for autistic children to be removed from mainstream classrooms because they’re a “distraction”.
Hanson was announcing One Nation’s support for the Government’s Education reform bill, which will be put to a vote by the end of the week.
However, rather than just confirming her support, Hanson took the opportunity to rain down a hard dose of “truth” on the state of our classrooms.
Firsts, she blamed “do-gooders” for softening school rules and prioritising children’s feelings over the need to compete for good grades.
“That’s what the real shock in our society is,” she said. “They’re not learning how to compete.”
“Life is about competing and if you don’t know what standard you’re at you’re never going to know how far you have to strive.”
She also lamented the English and maths standards across the country, saying many kids don’t even know the basics any more.
“It is absolutely pathetic when I see the way that children write, or they can’t write,” she said.
“We used to have a decent standard of writing called running writing. Now they’re flat out even knowing how to write, let alone do maths.”
Hanson also called for discipline to be brought back into classrooms, and later told Starts at 60 that unruly behaviour was driving teachers from schools.
“General discipline needs to be restored in the classroom, so that if a teacher, volunteer parent or teachers aid give a direction, they’re not met with abuse or back chat,” she said.
“Children appear to know all of their ‘rights’ without understanding their responsibility.”
She added that children needed to suffer the consequences for their actions.
“If writing out lines, being kept back during lunch for detention, sent outside or simply suffering some form of consequence for your actions isn’t reimplemented, teachers are more inclined to walk away from the profession than stick with it,” she said.
Towards the end of her Senate speech, Hanson drew the ire of parents and special education teachers for suggesting autistic children be sent to special classrooms away from other children.
“Kids with disabilities are taking up teachers’ time,” she said.
“These kids have a right to education by all means, but if there is a number of them they need to go into a special classroom where they can be given special attention and looked after.”
She said teachers are spending disproportionate amounts of time on kids with disabilities and ignoring other kids who want to learn.
“It’s no good saying that we’ve got to allow these kids to feel good about themselves and we don’t want to upset them and make them feel hurt,” she said.
“I understand that, but we’ve got to be realistic and consider the impact it’s having on other children in that classroom.
It didn’t take long for backlash to appear on social media, with dozens of parents, teachers and people living with autism calling her out.
Pauline Hanson my 6 year old autistic daughter has already exceeded your level of intelligence. Better idea remove bigots from parliament.
— Caroline Burke (@Capiscar) June 21, 2017
Hanson is yet to address the comments and had not responded to Starts at 60’s request for comment at the time of publishing.