Pauline Hanson has portrayed herself as a victim of political correctness following the furore over her refusal to sell her home to a Muslim.
Ms Hanson this afternoon hit back at Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Commission for saying she would be breaking the law if she knocked back a potential buyer on the grounds of their race or religion.
“I’m the one who decides if I want to put my signature on my contract, it’s my right I will decide whether I want to sell my land to a certain person on that contract or not,” the former One Nation leader told Fairfax Radio 4BC.
Ms Hanson said some of her critics were “a bunch of hypocrites” and they should respect the fact people still had the hard-won right to free speech.
“Little by little we’re losing our rights in this country,” she said.
“Because I’ve voiced my opinion I’m sort of jumped on and been howled down, ‘My god, you can’t say that’.
“Political correctness has taken over our lives if we don’t have a right to have an opinion.”
Ms Hanson, who is selling her home in Coleyville, south-west of Brisbane, ahead of her temporary relocation to Britain, ignited the latest controversy by telling a television station she would not accept any offers from Islamic buyers.
“Because I don’t believe that they are compatible with our way of life, our culture,” she told Seven’s Sunrise program.
“And I think we are going to have problems with them in this country further down the track, so I have no intention of selling my home to a Muslim.”
Acting Queensland Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Neroli Holmes said Ms Hanson’s intention to ban Muslim buyers put her at risk of breaching the state’s discrimination laws.
“The Act clearly states a person must not discriminate against another person by failing to sell them land or by placing terms on which it is offered for sale,” she said in a statement.
“If a person of the Muslim faith wishes to purchase a property and is denied that opportunity because of their religion, they have the right to lodge a complaint with the commission.”
Ms Holmes said the rule applied whether the land was offered by an individual or by an agent acting on their behalf.
LJ Hooker Yamanto agent Keith Edwards confirmed his client had spelled out her intentions, but said he would not discriminate when talking to potential buyers.
“I am required by law to present all offers … and I will do so irrespective of race, creed, gender or religion,” he told brisbanetimes.com.au.
“It is not my decision to present or not to present [an offer] and I will do so as the true professional that I am.”
Mr Edwards said he had already received any enquiry from someone purporting to be a Muslim and if it were a solid offer he would present it to Ms Hanson for her consideration.
The agent said he would not ask potential buyers to specify their religion.
“No mate – it’s against the law, I’m not allowed to do that,” he said.
“No, you must quote me as saying I would not discriminate on any enquiry.”
Ms Hanson’s home is listed for $2.15 million.
Islamic Society of Ipswich vice-president Jemele Deen dismissed Ms Hanson’s comments as a publicity stunt.
“She’s not a racist but what she’s trying to do is publicise her house,” he said.
“My personal opinion is if a Muslim came along with the cash she’d … sell it instantly.”
Ms Hanson’s hardline views on race sparked a national debate over immigration policy and Aboriginal disadvantage from the time she entered Parliament in 1996, the same election that made John Howard prime minister.
Ms Hanson, on a tour of her home with a Sunrise crew, also said she would not sell the home to an Asian who lived overseas, because of her concerns with foreign investment pricing local young people out of the market.
But she had no problem with selling the property to “an Australian who is of Asian background”.
“No problems whatsoever,” she said.
Asked if she would be prepared to sell the property to a Muslim, she said she would not.
The president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils Inc, Ikebal Patel, said that if Ms Hanson felt she could discriminate even as she left Australia, it was ”a good thing that she’s gone to England”.
”If she feels even in her final shot in selling her house she can still discriminate against the greater population of the world, then that’s one person we don’t need to live in this country,” Mr Patel said.
”And it’s a good thing that she’s gone to England then.”
Mr Patel also questioned whether people from the communities Ms Hanson singled out would want to buy her house.
”People might think there will be people from the Asian or Muslim communities that might be clamouring to buy this house but that’s far from the truth.
”Whether people from these communities would want to buy this house is another thing that we can question.”
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