Surprise reaction to Hanson’s tears
Pauline Hanson's emotional television interview in the wake of One Nation's latest scandal sparked an unexpected response.
The firebrand politician was addressing the resignation of her party's Queensland leader, after hidden camera footage emerged of his racist and sexist strip club visit, when she broke down.
It's the latest damaging claim to emerge, just weeks out from the Federal Election, that have contributed to a collapse in support for the right-wing party.
Its primary vote has more than halved since explosive revelations about Mr Dickson's trip to the US with Senator Hanson's chief-of-staff James Ashby to solicit millions of dollars from pro-gun groups in exchange for a push to soften Australia's firearms laws.
"I've had Fraser Anning, I've had Brian Burston, I've had a whole list of them. David Oldfield - you name them - where are they now? Where are they? I am kicked in the guts time and time again. It happens right before an election."
Senator Hanson, who was at times so overcome that she couldn't speak, said the latest scandal had left her "devastated".
Social media erupted with sympathy after the interview went to air, with many attacking Grimshaw's style of interview.
"Appalling behaviour on your part," one news.com.au Facebook commenter wrote.
"The media have stooped low to stop you getting votes," another said.
While another wrote: "If ACA are trying to push her over the edge … I think it's worked in the opposite way."
The sentiment on Facebook was overwhelmingly supportive, with most saying Senator Hanson's response to the strip club footage had only boosted up their support for One Nation.
"You may or may not be a Hanson fan but you can't deny this woman is passionate, determined and loyal to her cause," a commenter wrote.
"Was voting Labor, this has changed my mind to One Nation."
Speaking on Sunrise this morning, One Nation co-founder David Oldfield said the interview was the "real" Pauline Hanson.
"She keeps going because she is going for Pauline," he said. "Once again, this is a matter of understanding Pauline's agenda, and what it is that drives her.
"There are no crocodile tears there, that is genuinely Pauline. The people who love her. And up for her, saying she is a fighter. The people who don't like her, will be thinking she is a dreadful act. It will bring support to her, it will solidify the people who are already with her, and she will go forward and keep going."
Channel 9 journalist Dan Nolan, responsible for Monday night's strip club piece, appeared on air last night to discuss Senator Hanson's interview.
"People have not seen that side of Pauline before," Nolan said. "She is a divisive character. politics has not been kind to this women."
Nolan recalled Senator Hanson's stint in jail for electoral fraud before the conviction was overturned on appeal, and said she "has a history of bad men being in a party making bad decisions".
"Here was Pauline today very visibly upset in a raw interview talking about yet another bad chapter in her party," he said.
"A lot of people will feel sorry for her."
The reaction to the interview wasn't all positive, though - a number of critics claimed that Senator Hanson's "crocodile tears" were all a ploy to save her votes.
On Twitter, she was attacked for trying to portray herself as the "emotional, blameless, martyred victim".
One wrote: "Imagine how many tears were shed by innocent families when you stood up in parliament and attacked kids with autism without any evidence or facts to back up your uneducated opinions. What goes around comes around."
The scandal has left One Nation in a political crisis less than three weeks out from the May 18 poll.
Early yesterday, Senator Hanson stormed away from a press conference at her Queensland property after answering questions about Mr Dickson.
In the strip club footage, filmed by broadcaster Al Jazeera, the married 56-year-old says at one point, "I've done more Asian than I know what to do with".
Senator Hanson said this morning Al Jazeera had "conveniently" given the tapes to A Current Affair weeks out from the federal election but she was unable to "ignore or condone" the footage.
The Middle Eastern broadcaster denies approving the airing of the footage, saying it left Mr Dickson's strip club jaunt out of its original 'money for votes' expose because it wasn't in the public interest.