Bathurst snubs Hanson

Issue 

Bathurst snubs Hanson

By Emma Nicholson

BATHURST — A tour by Pauline Hanson of NSW's central western region has been met by anti-racist demonstrations.

The largest of these was here on August 19, when some 1000 Charles Sturt University students and local residents gathered to celebrate cultural diversity and draw attention away from Hanson's racist policies.

The event organisers, a working party of students and residents, had to battle the local media's generally favourable coverage of Hanson under the guise of "neutrality".

An open student meeting of 50, the largest on campus in activists' memory, decided that students could best celebrate cultural diversity and oppose Hanson's racism through an ongoing awareness-raising campaign on and off campus, and by holding non-violent protests.

The event began with a "Cultural Community Celebration", featuring music, theatre, circus performances and a fire show. Speakers included the local federal MP, independent Peter Andren; Bishop Bruce Wilson; and Trevor Dodds, a representative of Wammarra, speaking on Aboriginal issues.

The crowd then assembled outside the Civic Centre, where Hanson was due to speak. Confronted by a long barricade and ranks of police, they first sang and chanted, then symbolically snubbed Hanson by turning away from the building's entrance at her expected arrival time (she snuck in by a back entrance). The protest organisers received reports that only 150 people attended Hanson's meeting.

In the two days following, demonstrations occurred outside Hanson meetings in Orange and Dubbo.