Monday 27 February 2017

Anti-immigrant politician to leave her home behind

Sophie Tedmanson in Sydney

Australia's most controversial politician has said she plans to move to Britain after selling her house in rural Queensland.

Pauline Hanson, the far-right, flame-haired, fish-and-chip-shop owner who campaigned for the Australian parliament on an anti-immigration platform, complained that the country had become a harder place to live in, with fewer opportunities.

She said that she was selling her property near Brisbane and, after taking a cruise and visiting New Zealand, wanted to live in Britain indefinitely.

Ms Hanson's grandfather emigrated to Australia from England in 1908 and her mother's family are Irish. She is understood to hold dual citizenship. She will leave her four adult children behind.

"Australia will always be my home. But I love England and Ireland. My mother's family come from Limerick and my father's from London. I love the culture," Ms Hanson said. "Every country has something unique to offer and I want to experience that."

She told the Australian 'Woman's Day' magazine: "Our government lacks enough people with the fortitude to speak up without fear or favour. Over-regulation, increasing taxes and lack of true representation are affecting our way of life.

"I feel very much for the young ones. Once it was common for them to own their own home. Not now. It's a harder place. Sadly, the land of opportunity is no more applicable."

Sceptics speculated that Ms Hanson's announcement was a ploy to help to sell her 147-acre property, which went on sale yesterday. The property, which she named Serendipity, is expected to fetch more than A$1m (€650,000).

Swamped

Ms Hanson (55), the former leader of the One Nation party, entered politics in 1996 when she famously said that she believed her country was "in danger of being swamped by Asians" and questioned multiculturalism during her maiden speech to the national parliament in Canberra.

She has been the subject of controversy throughout her 14-year political career and caused an international furore after demanding an end to special welfare benefits for indigenous Australians in 1996.

When asked if she was xenophobic during a television interview in 1996, Ms Hanson famously asked the journalist to "please explain". She was briefly jailed in 2003 for electoral fraud.

Her most recent foray into politics came last year with an unsuccessful bid for the Queensland state seat of Beaudesert as an independent MP.

Ms Hanson did not say whether she planned a political career in England and would not comment when contacted. (© The Times, London)

Irish Independent

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