Pauline Hanson sparked a nationwide debate—and many furious comments from parents—for her remarks about autistic children and schooling.
The senator claimed that autistic children should be removed from mainstream classrooms and instead be taught in separate areas in the Senate on Wednesday.
One of those outraged Australians who hit back at Hanson was fashion designer Alex Perry, who admits he usually shies away from political statements.
But in an all-caps Instagram caption, Perry—a passionate advocate for the AEIOU Foundation—slammed Hanson’s “shameful comments”.
"I never make political comments... This is my exception... In the face of the ignorant, offensive and shameful comments against children with autism I feel compelled to,” he posted.
“I've been an ambassador for AEIOU Foundation for 10 years (one of my proudest achievements). Our goal as an intervention program is to teach and nurture these amazingly beautiful children and help them integrate into regular schools and live lives like any child.”
The designer criticised the perspective that children on the autism spectrum should be segregated from their school peers.
“The suggestion that they should be segregated flies in the face of everything that I believe in. Is Pauline Hanson aware that autistic children already live in darkness and solitude?” he wrote. “Our human responsibility is to illuminate these children's lives, include them, not segregate them."
The Project host Waleed Aly also hit back at Hanson’s comments and spoke out about his nine-year-old son Zayd who has autism.
“One of the problems with autism — and one of the problems with what Pauline Hanson said about it yesterday — it’s not that it’s never true that it can be really difficult for teachers. But it’s that the experience of autism is so diverse that you can’t possibly categorise it in this way,” he explained in an interview on Hit Network's Carrie & Tommy radio show.
Aly’s son was diagnosed in 2011, news.com.au reports.
"I actually thought, 'Oh great, the world makes sense now'. And now we know exactly what to do, we can handle this. And he's thriving, he’s coping really well,” he recounted. “But I can imagine for other parents it wouldn’t be like that at all. Because when you have a diagnosis, what that triggers in a lot of people’s minds is this is lifelong and I suppose it kind of is."