Pauline Hanson has claimed children born to foreign fighter parents should be banned from returning to Australia.
Just days after a senior British police officer from Scotland Yard proposed that courts should remove children from extremist parents, Senator Hanson has thrown her weight behind the idea – claiming she wouldn’t want her grandchildren anywhere near kids who have been exposed to extremist families or views.
Appearing on Sky News, interviewer Sam Maiden referenced the ongoing debate about children who have been born to a foreign fighter parent returning to Australia from the Middle East. She pointed out many have a right to claim citizenship by descent, but asked: “Should they be allowed back into the country?”
Hanson responded: “If the mother is dual citizenship, strip her of her Australian citizenship, do not allow her back into the country with her child. I don’t want these people back here and the majority of Australians don’t want them either.”
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When Maiden argued the child is an “innocent victim of their adults’ crimes”, Hanson refused to back down, adding: “No I’m sorry, their parents made the choice so what are we going to do? Every time a parent makes a choice and goes over there and fights, we’ve got to feel sorry for the child? No. A parent has to be responsible for the child, they’ve got to make the decision that ‘if I do this, I’m not going to let my child have a decent life in Australia’.”
Referencing the now infamous photo of a child in the Middle East standing by their father’s side holding a severed head, Hanson said: “Do I want those children to be in a classroom beside my grandchildren? No I don’t. I wouldn’t have them anywhere near.
“How much is it going to cost us to keep an eye on them for the rest of their lives? There’s psychological damage that may be done, or the hatred they have towards us, who are completely incompatible with their beliefs, their ideology. We have to start protecting our own here, they made a choice, and it’s a tough decision they’re making, but I know the majority of Australians will feel the same way that I do.”
Hanson also suggested increases the wait time for Australian citizenship from about four years seven or eight years, adding it’s necessary to “toughen” it. She added of foreign fighters: “Let’s strip them of their dual citizenship, deport them, and get them out of the country.”
Maiden also asked about the “horrific” story of a two-year-old girl in the Northern Territory who was allegedly raped recently. She pointed out: “There’s a big debate now over whether or not there’s a reluctance to take children away from their parents because of cultural sensitivity.”
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Jumping in instantly, Hanson said: “That upsets me, it really upsets me that that’s happened to that child, and then they put the child back into the hands of the family. I don’t care what the colour of your skin is, your cultural background, whatever. The whole fact is that we have to protect the innocent. We have to protect the children
“And yet we are reluctant to do it because you’re ‘racist’, or go back to the Stolen Generation. Well I’m sick of hearing it.”
It comes after British police officer Mark Rowley claimed exposing children to extremist parents was similar to exposing children sexual abuse, prompting a mixed debate across the world.
Read more: UK officer says extremist parents should be separated from kids
Rowley spoke at the annual Colin Cramphorn memorial lecture in central London revealing that around 100 children had been safeguarded through the family courts against extremists since the Syria and Iraq conflicts began, but noted many others were still living with their parents. He also revealed that four extreme rightwing-inspired plots were prevented in Britain in 2017. The speech is one of Crowley’s last duties– he is to retire in two weeks time, closing off a 31-year career in policing.
In a conference with journalists before the valedictorian speech, Rowley told reporters at the Policy Exchange think tank in London: “We still see cases where parents convicted of terrorism-related offences, including radicalisers, retain care of their own children,” he said. “If you know parents are interested in sex with children or if you know parents believe that people of their faith or their belief should hate everybody else and grow up to kill people, for me those things are equally wicked environments to expose children to.”
What do you think to Pauline Hanson’s comments? Do you agree, or do you think her proposal would be a step too far and unfair?