Aussie Senator under fire for controversial comments about autistic students

Elias Hubbard
June 24, 2017

Every child has the right to an education.

Senator Hanson stated that she believed it was unacceptable that in some areas the percentage of new dwellings being purchased by foreign non-residents is likely to be at between 30% or 40%.

Senator Hanson was announcing her party's decision to side with the government on Wednesday when she veered onto the topic of students with disabilities, including autism.

"It's no good saying we have to allow these kids to feel good about themselves and we don't want to upset them and make them feel hurt".

Ms. Husar fairly vibrated with rage as she told reporters Senator Hanson owed an apology to the estimated 164,000 Australians who have autism spectrum disorder.

"She owes an apology to every single autistic child in this country, every one of the parents who are like me because we got better things to do than to defend our kids", Ms. Husar said. "You are taking it completely out of context", she said.

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

The Autism Centre provides support and services for about 65 children on the North-West Coast.

"I think that we have more autistic children and yet we are not providing the special classrooms or the schools for these autistic children and, if there are, they're at huge expense to parents".

"It doesn't matter how many times it has happened before I feel the knife twist again".

"Not only is it great for them but it is also great for those students who don't have disabilities", said independent Jacqui Lambie.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young labeled the comments 'disgusting'.

"If it were one of my children I would love all the time given to them, to give them those opportunities". There is a problem in our society.

"But the longitudinal data is such that it is advantageous for their own child academically to be alongside that child as well as for the child who has a disability to be sitting in a mainstream classroom", she said.

"Teachers are saying it themselves", she said. "We need to help these kids", she said. "Everybody wins out with this", she said.

"School should be a safe place for all kids". She explained that what Australia needs to do is to focus on what needs should be done to improve the system.

"I have got one thing to say to every single child on the autism spectrum who is going into a classroom today, whether that's a mainstream class, whether that's a support unit or a school with a specific goal - that you matter".

Autism early intervention group AEIOU Foundation chairman Dr. James Morton said while the Senator's comments were provocative, there was an issue which needed to be addressed.

Education experts criticized Hanson's view, saying since the mid-1990s the philosophy of inclusion had been influential in changing Australian education for the better.

The Australian Education Union has been approached for comment.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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