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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 15:38 GMT
Australia's Hanson in comeback
Pauline Hanson
Ms Hanson stirred fears of racism
Pauline Hanson, the controversial founder of Australia's anti-immigration One Nation party, is launching a political comeback.

Ms Hanson announced on Wednesday that she would be standing as an independent candidate in next month's elections for the New South Wales state parliament.

"Politics is in me, to get up and have a go," she said, adding that her hardline policies were unchanged even though she was no longer a member of One Nation.

Ms Hanson, a former chip shop owner, achieved notoriety in the late 1990s for her extreme views on Australia's indigenous community and asylum seekers.

She claimed Australia was being "swamped" by Asian immigrants, and that Aborigines received too many welfare payments from the government.

Her opinions on asylum seekers were equally uncompromising. She called them common criminals and queue jumpers and said they did not deserve Australia's compassion.

"My views of what I said then have not changed," she told Sky television on Wednesday.

Fraud allegations

Ms Hanson's campaign could be hindered by two fraud charges brought against her by police, who accuse her of registering One Nation illegally.

If convicted, she would be unable to hold a seat in the New South Wales parliament.

But Ms Hanson said she was confident she would beat the fraud charges, which are due to come to court in May.

"If I thought there was a case against me, I wouldn't put myself through this," she said.

Mrs Hanson rose to prominence in 1996 after winning a seat in Australia's federal parliament as an independent candidate.

Her anti-immigration rhetoric caused widespread offence, but did strike a chord with sections of Australia's white conservatives.

In 1998, One Nation won almost a quarter of the vote in Queensland state elections.

But the party fell from grace soon afterwards, and analysts subsequently wrote her off as a political force.

Last year she even turned to a career promoting a country-and-western singer.





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SEE ALSO:
Profile: Pauline Hanson
27 May 02 |  Asia-Pacific
Australia's Hanson 'quits' politics
14 Jan 02 |  Asia-Pacific
Howard's refugee gamble paying off
21 Sep 01 |  Asia-Pacific
Asian-Australians fear far-right return
22 Feb 01 |  Asia-Pacific


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