"I don't believe there's going to be hate"

Senator Pauline Hanson has made it quite clear she doesn’t support the idea of same-sex marriage. However, she has said in a recent interview that she would be prepared to put aside her personal opposition to same-sex marriage and vote for it in the Senate – but only if the Australian people vote in favour of it at a plebiscite.

In an interview on the gay and lesbian radio station Joy FM in Melbourne, the One Nation leader also said she believes fears about hate speech and the mental health risks to young people of a plebiscite, which she wants delayed and held alongside the next federal election, are being overblown.

“I think you are actually blowing that out of proportion to make that an excuse why you shouldn’t have a plebiscite,” she said on Saturday.

When presented with the research around mental health, Senator Hanson said, “I disagree with that; I don’t believe there’s going to be hate. I think it would be a balanced debate.”

While One Nation says on its website that its number one priority is to “bring about the necessary changes for fair and equal treatment of all Australians”, Senator Hanson made it clear that didn’t extend to marriage equality.

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“I agree that everyone has the right to peace and harmony, but the gays and lesbians are now wanting to change my way of thinking, who I am,” she said.

“I come from a time when there was no discussion about gay marriage. That’s my background, that’s what I’ve grown up with.

“You want to take something away from the majority of society that we’ve grown up with. Why do you want to take the word marriage?”

Senator Hanson said she “associated with the gays and I’ve even worked with gays” but not all of them wanted to get married. She believes the gay and lesbian community should be content with civil ceremonies.

She said she didn’t care that other Western countries were allowing same-sex marriage, but also suggested that could be a way for Australian gay and lesbian people to get what they want.

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“If you feel so strongly about it, I’m sure you can move to that country and then you can have that marriage,” she said.

Unlike the Turnbull government, Senator Hanson wants the plebiscite run in conjunction with the next federal election in order to save taxpayers the estimated $200 million cost.

But she said that if a plebiscite is held and the people vote in favour of same-sex marriage she will follow suit.

“I would support that because people have had their say. I’d give it my total support because I’m there as the people’s representative. I believe we’ve got to start listening to the majority and not the minority.”

What do you think of Pauline’s comments? Do you think the plebiscite needs to be held or should the MPs vote within the Parliament?