Where would Hanson's bright idea on education have put Mozart and Michelangelo?

Students with disabilities are putting a strain on teachers and schools, Pauline Hanson has told Parliament.
Students with disabilities are putting a strain on teachers and schools, Pauline Hanson has told Parliament. Photo: Andrew Meares

Excuse me? In 2017, a federal politician - the leader of a party - wants us to discriminate, ridicule and segregate young children with a disability?

Round them up, and shove them somewhere, so their able peers can go ahead in "leaps and bounds in their education" rather than be "held back by those".

The famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is believed to have had some autistic traits.
The famous composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is believed to have had some autistic traits.  

One Nation's Senator Pauline Hanson was very specific about who THOSE culprits were yesterday; children with autism.

"Most of the time the teacher spends so much time on them they forget about the child who ... wants to go ahead in leaps and bounds in their education but are held back by those because the teachers spend time with them," she said.

What?

"We have to be realistic at times and consider the impact that is having on other children in that classroom," Senator Hanson said.

"We can't afford to hold our kids back. We have the rest of the world and other kids in other countries who are going ahead in leaps and bounds ahead of us."

Is that right, Senator Hanson? Or could your comments be one of the most ignorant statements made by a politician in years?

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And the irony of them being expressed during a debate on education! 

Just imagine the morning roll call in the "autistic or Asperger's class" in history; that disruptive babble this leader of a political party thinks is hurting the education of our children.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, are you here today? Perhaps you should be in the Asperger's class, but we don't have enough teachers!

What about you Andy Warhol? And Michelangelo? Thomas Jefferson, put that Declaration of Independence down. No one wants to read what you've written.

Henry Cavendish, yes, yes, your parents say they know you'll go on to be a famous 18th century scientist. But not today. Sit and play with those blocks.

Where is Emily Dickinson? And Charles Richter put that scale down - what do you think you are doing? Inventing the Richter scale?

What a privilege it would be for us, as parents, to have a child share the mind and the classroom of some of those in history, now considered to have had autism or Asperger's.

And what about those qualities children with a disability showcase every single day of their lives.

I've seen it, countless times, with my own daughters. It was a young lad, with Down Syndrome, who taught them that there is always a reason to smile. And that's a lesson they'll have for life.

Except, of course, if we adopt Pauline Hanson's world. 

"It's no good saying that we've got to allow these kids to feel good about themselves and we don't want to upset them and make them feel hurt," she said.

She actually uttered those words, in 2017.  This is a true story.

In this column last week, I decried that we were too often playing the person, not the ball.

And perhaps Senator Hanson has missed out on those delightful life lessons that many of us have been taught by the beautiful children, with disabilities, that pop up in classrooms across Australia.

But ignorance should never be accepted as an excuse. Ever.

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