Attorney General rebuts Australia’s One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson’s NRL bid remarks

Tuesday, 9 July 2024, 5:36 pm

Attorney General Pila Niningi (Supplied)

Attorney General and Minister for Justice Pila Niningi has blasted Australia’s opposition for making degrading statements against PNG.

The vocal Senator from Queensland Pauline Hanson questioned Australia’s intention to fund a massive AUD$600 million out of its budget for a PNG NRL team.

Responding to her comments today, Attorney General Pila Niningi said Pauline Hanson should think before she talks.

“I believe she does not understand what rugby league does or any sport for that matter".

Mr Niningi said the NRL has been a sport that has bonded the two countries apart from other aspects.

He was also upset that Hanson labeled PNG as a corrupt country.

“I as Attorney General, I am not corrupt, if one or two are practicing it, that doesn’t mean that everyone is corrupt. We respect Australia and what Australia is doing for us. Our relationship with Australia is strong and it cannot be,” Mr. Niningi added.  

Australia's Senator taskes a swipe at funding of PNG NRL team

Pauline Hanson (Supplied)

Ms Hanson took a swipe at its government's commitment to fund about 600 million Australian dollars or over 1 point 4 billion kina, for a new NRL team in Papua New Guinea.

One Nation Senator for Queensland Pauline Hansen reminded the Australian Federal Senate that this "generosity was at the expense of Australians and is on top of the almost 500 million dollars a year or about 1 point 2 billion kina given to PNG in foreign aid":

“Australia has also loaned PNG another 2.56 billion dollars for budget support since 2020.

Our fans wonder why a PNG-based team is even needed in the NRL.

More importantly, Australians struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads thanks to Labor’s cost-of-living crisis are right to be angry about this Labor government giving a foreign football team 600 million dollars of their money.

How many new nurses and doctors could this money fund in regional Queensland?

How much mental health or drug rehab services could it support?

This is yet another example of the Albanese Labor government putting foreign interests before Australian interests.”

Hansen called on the Australian Federal senate to re-examine its relationship with PNG who will be celebrating its 50th Independence anniversary next year.

She says it's a good time for Australia to let PNG stand on its own without Australian aid.

“Next year, Papua New Guinea will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its independence from Australia.

It’s the perfect opportunity for Australia to re-examine its relationship with our nearest neighbour, and letting it stand on its own feet without Australian aid.

But how confident could we be in PNG’s governance abilities to tackle its endemic corruption, or its ability to resist approaches from communist China?

We must prioritize putting Australians and their urgent needs first before extremely low-order priorities like funding a foreign footy team.”