Pauline Hanson has an inimitable penchant for making terrible suggestions. Earlier this year, the One Nation leader and perpetually disgruntled right-wing populist proposed that people on the Work for the Dole scheme should earn their welfare by collecting cane toads. In 2017, she called for children with autism and disabilities to be removed from mainstream classrooms so that other students weren’t “held back." Now, in response to mounting environmental activism around the country, she’s suggesting police use electric cattle prods on climate protesters.
Over the past few months, activists around Australia have been gluing themselves to the streets in major city centres as part of a movement known as Extinction Rebellion: a socio-political protest that aims to raise awareness of the world’s “sixth mass extinction” brought on by climate change. Last week, The Courier Mail reported that Extinction Rebellion were considering a “Hong Kong airport-style disruption” in Brisbane. And this week, Pauline responded by uploading a video in which she condemns the “unwashed idiots” who are championing the survival of the human species and suggests jabbing them with an electrified “move-along-stick."
“My home state of Queensland has been put through hell over protesters who glue themselves to streets and hold our city streets to ransom,” reads the video’s description. “Now they are planing [sic] to shut down and cripple our major airports which would shut down air travel across most parts of Australia.
“After attending the Biggenden charity campdraft today, one of the truckies gave me the lend of a cattle prod which would act as a bloody good 'move-along-stick' for these unwashed idiots who hold our cities and airports to ransom in the future.”
The footage shows Pauline walking around a paddock, brandishing a long pole and affecting the tone of a backcountry arms dealer.
“Well I don’t know if you’ve ever seen one of these before,” she says to the camera, “It’s called a jig—in other words, a cattle prod. When the farmers have trouble with the cattle and getting them up off the floor of the trucks, or in the cattle yards, well they just touch them with this and they soon move. Doesn’t matter how big the beasts are, they’ll soon move with this.”
She continues: “Recently we’ve had all the protesters in Brisbane lying on the streets, glueing themselves. And what about the protesters now: they’re talking about how they want to go to the airports…What about you? How about if you need to get through the traffic, maybe take a loved one to the hospital, or desperately need to get to your job, or something is happening and the protesters are there?
“You know what I reckon’s the solution? Let’s use one of these on them. I think they’ll soon move. Maybe we should give the idea to Annastacia Palaszczuk, see if she’s got the guts to actually give it to police to start using these. I would.”
Which is fucked, for fairly obvious reasons—many of which have since been expressed on social media. “Inciting violence is a criminal offence,” wrote one Twitter user, while another told Pauline “you have just shown Australia and the world that you are totally unfit for any public office. Cattle prods to be used against our citizens...I think Australia has had enough of your mindless offerings.”