She said what!

Senator Hanson recently implied that children on the autistic spectrum should be shunted off to ‘special schools’. However Hanson wants to spin it, she said
These kids have a right to an education, by all means, but, if there are a number of them, these children should go into a special classroom and be looked after and given that special attention,

Most of the time the teacher spends so much time on them they forget about the child who is straining at the bit and wants to go ahead in leaps and bounds in their education.

That child is held back by those others, because the teachers spend time with them.

I am not denying them. If it were one of my children I would love all the time given to them to give them those opportunities. But it is about the loss for our other kids.

I think that we have more autistic children, yet we are not providing the special classrooms or the schools for these autistic children.
In case you believe the ABC is biased – this link will take you the same text in a Fairfax publication, or you could try The Guardian here.

Hanson claims she was taken out of context – the context seems pretty clear here. It is an attempt by an irrelevant media manipulator to be seen to have a position on the latest ‘hot button’ issue.

There has been lots of outrage, mostly by those who have some idea of what they are talking about including Labor MP Emma Husar who has a son with autism. It is well worth watching the entire clip.

Fairfax reports that a number of people who actually do have a clue absolutely disagree with Hanson’s ill-informed attempt at bigotry. For example
Children and Young People with Disability Australia chief executive Stephanie Gotlib labelled the Senator's comments "ill-informed and deeply offensive".

"Senator Hanson should also be mindful that access to inclusive education is a human right," she said.

"Ignorant remarks such as these demonstrate that she clearly needs to take up this offer as soon as possible."

Fiona Sharkey, chief executive of Amaze (Autism Victoria), accused Senator Hanson of "advocating for a more segregated school environment rather than an inclusive one".

In response to Senator Hanson's speech, Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, read out an email to Parliament from a parent of a child with an intellectual disability.

"To hear one of our parliamentarians argue that kids with disabilities don't belong in mainstream classes doesn't shock me - but it does break my heart all over again," he said.

"It doesn't matter how many times it has happened before I feel the knife twist again."
You would expect the Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, would be one of the first to decry Hanson’s attempt at relevance. He didn’t. Even though
Dr David Roy, a lecturer at the University of Newcastle's School of Education, said studies had shown "the exact opposite" of Senator Hanson's comments.

"Children with a disability may have a deficit in one area, but will often and regularly have an asset in the other so they can support other children in the classroom who aren't good with language or literacy, who aren't good with maths … and see an alternative way of doing something."
You see, Hanson’s political party which somehow claims to represent all Australians despite only receiving around 500,000 votes across the country (and attempting to justify a Queensland Senator, Malcolm Roberts, elected on 77 direct votes) is voting in favour of what is so far Turnbull and Birmingham’s single success – Gonski 2.0.

Gonski 2.0 is not as good as the ALP’s Gonski policy as significant funding has been removed from the plan to adequately fund school education across Australia - but it is a start. For some reason the ALP and Greens couldn’t see the wood for the trees and didn’t vote for something they could ‘re-adjust’ following a possible election victory inside the next couple of years – so Birmingham needed the Pauline Hanson’s One Nation xenophobic and narrow minded Senators to pass the legislation, as well as a number of other cross-bench Senators.

Sean Kelly, who writes for The Monthly, calls the Liberal Party response out for what it is – a complete abrogation of the requirement to govern for all. As Kelly suggests
That’s why you should ignore any Liberal MP expressing outrage this week about Hanson’s latest comments on autism. The comments should not have been a shock. She’s the same Hanson she was when Cash hugged her, when Abbott recorded a video with her, when Turnbull indicated his party might preference her, and when Sinodinos said her party had changed.

Hanson wants a royal commission into whether Islam is a religion. She has encouraged parents to “do their own research” on whether to get their kids vaccinated. She supports Vladimir Putin, whose government murders and assassinates people. And that’s before you get to the views of her other senators, or candidates.
Kelly goes on to comment
As with all of Hanson’s rhetoric, this was about the ugly, ugly politics of envy. It was classic Hanson: feeding off the resentment felt by those doing it tough towards those doing it even tougher. Hanson’s entire governing philosophy is that there is only so much sympathy (and government funding) to go around, and her voters deserve the lion’s share.
And he’s right. Hanson has been preaching hatred and bigotry against groups of Australians for years. It is all that she knows how to do. As far as representing ‘average’ Australians – that’s crap – Hanson and her party have been attached to the teat of public funding of election candidates for over a quarter of a century.

In the world according to Hanson, for you to be acceptable to the community you must be exactly like her. Despite claiming to be an ‘average’ Australian, her only real job for the past 25 years or so is running for political office. She attempts to divide our community on racial stereotypes and seemingly will do anything to get her name on the front page of the paper. If she isn’t just stupid, she is manipulating and conniving without any real demonstrated ability to put her policies into legislation.

At the very worst, any class with a mixture of non-ASD and ASD students would teach all the students the ability to understand and practice tolerance. Non-ASD kids may have to wait a few minutes longer for the entire class to finish a task, the ASD kids would learn that others don’t necessarily have an extremely detailed knowledge of subjects that are near and dear to them.

Fairfax reports that Autism advocacy bodies estimate that one in 100 Australians are diagnosed with autism and Emma Husar made the statement linked above outside Parliament House the other day – it finished with the following words, addressed directly to all the estimated 164,000 Australians who register on the Autistic Spectrum
even on the days that are hard – when you’re frustrated, and your disability makes you angry – you are still better than she is on her best day.
Husar is correct. Australians diagnosed with ASD are better on their worst day than Hanson is on her best. It’s high time the Liberal Party found a backbone and treated Hanson as the irrelevance she truly is, it might help them regain some popularity from the genuinely ‘average’ Australians who believe in tolerance and an inclusive society and who rightly believe Hanson will never speak for them’.

Disclaimer – the writer’s daughter has been diagnosed with ASD. She attends a mainstream high school and is achieving average or better academic and behavioural results in the same classes as her non-ASD age cohort.

What do you think?
Let us know in comments below.

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Comments (4) -

  • Bacchus

    6/25/2017 3:29:57 PM |

    Another excellent article 2353NM - especially love the obvious passion in this one!

    It seems there are a lot of outraged parents of ASD kids who actually have an understanding of the topic, unlike Ms Hanson.

    This account from another parent appeared on my 'New Daily' feed yesterday.

  • Ad Astra

    6/25/2017 3:40:50 PM |

    What a timely piece you have written!

    Pauline Hanson has attracted widespread condemnation for her remarks about how autistic children ought to receive their education, particularly from journalists and commentators whose children are autistic or otherwise disadvantaged.

    Many have tried to analyse her mindset and her motivation.

    We are aware of her propensity to show her ignorance, and to make outrageous statements because of her lack of knowledge. I suspect in this instance ignorance was a factor.

    We also know how lacking in empathy she is. “Hard as nails’ is an apt description of her demeanour. I imagine that lack of empathy towards autistic children and their parents has enabled her to make her remarks without compunction.

    We also know that she is as cunning as a fox and as vicious as a viper. Was then the main driving force behind her remarks simply, and perhaps principally, political opportunism?

    She said many parents had complained to her that their ‘normal’ children, wanting ‘to go ahead in leaps and bounds’, were being ‘held back’ because teachers were spending time on the autistic children in their mixed classes. I don’t doubt that some of her constituency made these complaints. Given that this is the case, were her actions designed to garner support, and votes, by reflecting voter anger against the system of integrated classrooms where both autistic and other children learn together, a modus operandi that has been shown, over and again, to be successful in many ways.

    My guess is that harvesting votes was Hanson’s prime motive; her ignorance and her lack of empathy made that process so much easier. She has shown that she cares not whether she hurts feelings, even the feelings of the vulnerable. Her conscience does not worry or inhibit her as she pursues her political objective of vote harvesting.

    And although she prevaricates when asked about her outburst; although she claims that her remarks ‘were taken out of context’, she will not retract, nor will she apologize. I seldom agree with Peter Dutton, but I did when he said: “If you expect her to apologize, you don’t know Pauline Hanson’.

    She is ignorant and she lacks empathy, but above all else she is a casehardened politician relentlessly, shamelessly and brazenly seeking political advantage.

    She will not change. She will go on making statements that are ignorant, unfeeling and careless, so long as she believes votes will follow.

    It’s easy to say: “Let’s get used to it”, but Hanson is difficult for normal people to stomach.

  • 2353NM

    6/25/2017 9:39:33 PM |

    Thanks Gents,

    There seems to be a groundswell of 'how dare she' articles around this weekend.  Frequently, those that are into attention seeking (as Hanson is) flame out when they take that one step too far.  Is this Hanson's flame out?  It well could be as it is hard to hang a derogatory label (such as 'boat people', 'asians', 'Muslims') on people with disabilities, particularly when in a lot of cases no one knows about the disability.  (From personal experience) people that care for children and adults on the ASD spectrum have to have a lot of initial self belief that something is wrong and the determination to argue the case; so that treatment is given.  They also have long memories, lots of community connections and a knowledge how to convince people that a course of action is really necessary.

  • Lt. Fred

    6/25/2017 10:25:51 PM |

    The "Mr 77 votes" thing is extremely misleading. We do not directly elect our Senators, by and large - instead we vote for a party. His election was no less legitimate because his voters voted 1 Hanson 2 Roberts. That's how our system works.

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