The One Nation Party has invited opponents and supporters to have their questions about the party answered, when Pauline Hanson speaks on the Sunshine Coast next week.
Jim Savage, the party’s lead Senate candidate for Queensland, said the party had been wrongly labelled racists by Member for Noosa Glen Elmes and Greens candidate for Fairfax David Knobel. The issue arose after One Nation’s Fairfax candidate Mike Holt was last week linked to stickers claiming halal food certification funded terrorism. “I do not accept that 98% of non-Muslim Australians should pay a tax on the food they buy and goes to organisations like the Queensland Islamic Council,” Mr Savage said.
Mr Elmes, the Queensland Multicultural Affairs Minister, compared One Nation’s views to “the White Australia Policy”, which “was discredited” decades ago. “Queensland is home to 37,000 people of the Muslim faith and they should be free to practise their religious and cultural beliefs without attack from idiots like the One Nation candidate for Fairfax,” Mr Elmes said.
Meantime, the Greens said Mr Holt’s “campaign strategy” was designed to “incite unrestrained racial and religious hatred”. “The Greens condemn this behaviour and call on One Nation to take a strong stand against this unwelcome and offensive affront to Australian values of tolerance and freedom,” Mr Knobel said.
Mr Savage in turn said the critics should reveal their views on halal certification. “When people have nowhere to hide, and no intelligent reply, like the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, and the Greens candidate, they resort to calling us racists. What idiots – Islam is not a race. Glen Elmes didn’t have the courage to give his opinion on halal certification; he was too afraid he’ll offend someone.
“All he could do was attempt to denigrate One Nation and say we haven’t changed…. we were right in 1998 when 25% of Queenslanders voted One Nation, and we are still right. I ask him and the Greens candidate, do they condone halal tax or not?”