Hanson registers new political party

BRISBANE, Australia, AP

Pauline Hanson, a former right wing lawmaker who shot to popularity in the 1990s on a policy of curbing Asian migration to Australia, announced Wednesday she is registering a new political party that adds Muslims and refugees to her list of unwanted residents.

The 53-year-old firebrand plans to run for the Senate as a candidate of the new party, Pauline’s United Australia Party, in elections due around October. She had announced in February her plans to run for election.

She said she has applied for the party’s registration, although it has not yet been approved by electoral authorities.

“I think we need to have a look at our immigration levels and I’d like to put a moratorium on any more Muslims coming into Australia,” Hanson told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio Wednesday. She said Australia also needs to change its international humanitarian commitments so it can reject “refugees in this country that bring in diseases, who are incompatible with our lifestyle.”

Hanson said she still stood by her first speech to Parliament in 1996 when she famously warned that Australia was “in danger of being swamped by Asians.”

Hanson, who founded and later abandoned the One Nation Party, was voted out of office in 1998 after a single three-year term.

She unsuccessfully ran in the last elections in 2004 as an independent candidate for the Senate after spending almost three months in prison on electoral fraud charges in 2003. The convictions were squashed on appeal.

Running as a party candidate will give Hanson an advantage in the next elections because filling out ballots is a more complex process for voters who choose independents.

But election analyst Antony Green predicted Hanson would not attract enough support to win a seat.