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War erupts over Pauline Hanson’s racist slur to Mehreen Faruqi

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The Queen’s death has ignited a feud between Australian senators that could see a racist, five-word slur from Pauline Hanson referred to the human rights commission.

What started with a tweet from Greens Senator and deputy leader of the party Mehreen Faruqi offering condolences “to those who knew the Queen” has snowballed, dragging in Hanson and Senator Jacqui Lambie — with the latter forced to issue a lengthy statement.

Hanson took exception to a line in Faruqi’s tweet on September 9 that read: “I cannot mourn the leader of a racist empire built on stolen lives, land and wealth of colonised peoples.”

In reply, Hanson wrote: “Your attitude appalls and disgusts me. When you immigrated to Australia you took every advantage of this country. You took citizenship, bought multiple homes, and a job in a parliament. It’s clear you’re not happy, so pack your bags and piss off back to Pakistan.

The last five words of Hanson’s reply have been widely and rightly condemned. But Lambie looked past the comment when she joined the pile on, writing: “Pauline right on the mark!”

Later, she issued a statement clarifying her position.

“It is hugely offensive that the Deputy Leader of Australia’s third largest political party would use the death of the Queen as an opportunity to accuse anyone who mourns it of being a racist,” she wrote.

“That’s just wrong. We are talking about the death of a human being with a family, who was loved, who served her country with dignity.

“I don’t agree with all of Pauline’s tweet, or the language she used, but I do agree that the attitude on show here is pretty disgraceful.”

She went on to refer to her own father’s journey from the United Kingdom.

“My dad came here as a migrant from Scotland because his family wanted to take advantage of the promise of Australia,” Lambie wrote.

“I resent the attitude of anyone who says he was wrong to be proud of what our country gave him.”

Faruqi is not letting it end there. On Thursday morning she told Twitter she said she would move a censure motion on September 26 when parliament resumes and was considering making a complaint to the human rights commission.

“If Parliament is to be a safe workplace we need to send a clear message that this hostility to migrants and people of colour will not be tolerated,” she wrote on Twitter.

“If Labor is serious about setting a high standard of behaviour from parliamentarians, this is their opportunity.”

Earlier, she told The Guardian that Hanson’s comments were “racist” and “cannot go unaddressed”.

“The community, particularly migrants of colour, need to see parliament strongly condemn Senator Hanson without delay,” Faruqi said.

“People who look like me have all been told to go back to where they come from at one point or another. I’ve copped it more times than I can count, but the hurt and sorrow it causes never lessens.

“Of course there’s going to be disagreement about the Queen’s legacy in the wake of her passing, but there’s never an excuse for attacking someone for who they are. I won’t be silenced and neither will the millions of others around the world affected by the brutal reality of colonisation.”

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