Late twist in Pauline Hanson ‘racism’ lawsuit with fresh evidence bid

Senator Faruqi's lawyers have lodged an appeal for her case against Senator Hanson to be reopened.

Senator Faruqi's lawyers have lodged an appeal for her case against Senator Hanson to be reopened. Photo: AAP

Whether Pauline Hanson knew fellow senator Mehreen Faruqi was Muslim when she made an allegedly racist tweet is the subject of an 11th-hour twist in their bitter legal battle.

Faruqi alleged in a Federal Court lawsuit that the One Nation leader engaged in racial discrimination through a tweet suggesting she “p-ss off back to Pakistan”.

Lawyers for the Greens deputy leader lodged an appeal on Thursday for the case to be reopened to hear fresh evidence, despite Justice Angus Stewart having adjourned the matter last week to consider his ruling.

Hanson told the trial during cross-examination that at the time of her September 9, 2022, tweet, she did not know Faruqi was Muslim.

The submission to reopen the case by Faruqi’s lawyers included a 249-page file of publicly available material in which she is identified as Muslim, including “copious” social media posts and news articles.

This includes a pinned tweet in which Faruqi says “I’m Muslim”, and a podcast episode of Paul Murray Live on which Hanson appeared as a guest, where the host also identifies her as Muslim.

Faruqi also tagged Hanson in a 2018 tweet asking, “I’m curious. @PaulineHansonOz am I a good Muslim or a bad one?”, according to the evidence.

Lawyers for Faruqi submitted that the material assisted the court in considering whether Hanson’s evidence as to her knowledge of her colleague’s religion should be accepted.

In the hours following the death Queen Elizabeth II, Faruqi tweeted she could not mourn the passing of the leader of a “racist empire built on stolen lives, land and wealth of colonised peoples”.

Hanson responded, saying she was appalled and disgusted with the Greens senator’s comments, telling her to “pack [her] bags and p-ss off back to Pakistan”.

Hanson’s barrister Kieran Smark SC said during a multiday trial that given the One Nation leader’s history of being outspoken against Muslims and Islam, if the tweet was racially motivated one would expect religion to have been referred to in the tweet

“If she’s got something to say about Islam then she’ll say it,” Smark told the court.

Smark said the colour of the Greens senator’s skin was the last thing on his client’s mind when she sent the tweet.

“Your Honour would not have a proper basis to conclude that ‘go back to Pakistan’ had anything to do with colour or in fact religion,” he said.

“What it’s all about is the death of the queen and speaking out on those political causes at the time.”

Faruqi’s barrister Saul Holt KC said the tweet was a personal attack targeting his client’s colour and ethnic origin rather than a protected form of political engagement.

“It is an angry slur that could have been written by anyone regardless of their status,” Holt said.

Topics: Racism
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