PAULINE Hanson loves a soapbox, and breakfast hosts David Koch and Samantha Armytage wheeled one out for her routinely in the months and weeks heading into Saturday’s election.
The controversial Queenslander was not only afforded a platform for her messages but news.com.au can confirm she was being paid to appear in the living rooms of Australians.
Hanson’s One Nation party secured two Senate seats in Queensland and will likely enjoy representation in NSW and Western Australia, too. But the question has to be asked about whether brekky TV gave her a leg-up.
Hanson appeared on Sunrise to talk about a range of topics. She was called upon after the Paris attacks to provide context for both Sunrise and the Today show.
The decision to approach Hanson was criticised by viewers who labelled her a “bigoted racist” and a “sad, uneducated human being”.
She tackled the housing crisis on March 7 and private health cover on March 28. Later, in June, she called anti-racism protesters “disgraceful” and told critics of Eddie McGuire to “toughen up” if they were offended by his comments about journalist Caroline Wilson.
On June 27, days before the election, she appeared alongside new senator Derryn Hinch for a segment about flag burners at her campaign launch.
Michael Pell, the executive producer at Sunrise, told news.com.au there was nothing out of the ordinary about Hanson’s appearances and she was not receiving special treatment.
“Pauline is one of a number of paid regular commentators on Sunrise,” he said.
“She does not appear alone, but rather with other commentators, to canvass a range of views on the main news topics of the day. On the odd occasion Pauline was asked to appear on the show solely as a political guest to discuss her own campaign, she was not paid.”
Hanson has a long-running affiliation with the Seven network. In October, 2004, 10 months after announcing she would not return to politics, she was back in the spotlight on Seven’s first season of Dancing with the Stars.
Hanson spent eight weeks on the program and was runner-up to Home and Away’s Bec Cartwright.
‘WHAT BUSINESS IS IT OF YOURS?’
Late last year, days after announcing she would run for the Senate, Hanson refused to say whether she was being paid for her public appearances.
“What business is it of yours or the public?” she said, when asked by Buzzfeed.
“And you know what, whether it is or not, I’m not saying whether I am (being paid) or not. I don’t see it is any of your or the public’s business whether I am paid or not. There’s a lot of appearances that I make on TV I can tell you, I don’t get paid.
“So I’m not answering your question because it’s none of your business and it’s no one’s concern about any arrangements that I may have, I’ll have you know I am possibly not getting paid for it but then again I’ll state, it’s none of your business.”
Many said Hanson should never have appeared on Sunrise or the Today showafter the Paris attacks.
On Today, she said: “People of Australia don’t want more Muslim refugees in Australia who may be ISIS plants.”
Sydney-based writer and political campaigner Osman Faruqi wrote a opinion piece about her appearances for SBS.
“Hanson isn’t an expert on terrorism, international conflict or radicalisation,” he wrote.
“She’s a right-wing candidate for election adept at maximising the opportunities afforded to her by commercial networks keen to attract viewers in a contested marketplace.
“There is absolutely no public interest defence for the decision to provide someone with such appalling views a megaphone immediately following a terrorist attack.”