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Australian populist anti-Islam politician Pauline Hanson to skip Trump inauguration

Hanson's far-right party enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in 2016, with local polls finding almost 10 percent support among Australians. She toasted Trump's election victory late last year.

Pauline Hanson, the leader of Australia's populist anti-immigration party announced Monday she was invited to the inauguration ceremony of US president-elect Donald Trump.

"Would you believe it? I have been gifted tickets to the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony of Donald Trump - What an honor!", the anti-Islamic parliamentarian wrote on Twitter.

However, she later said that due to work commitments she would not be attending the January 20 ceremony.

In November the right-wing politician had toasted Trump's election victory with champagne outside Parliament House in the nation's capital Canberra.

"I can see in Donald Trump a lot of me and what I stand for in Australia. I think it's great," Hanson said at the time.

Her office did not clarify to local media who had sent the tickets but said the Trump camp knew she was "a big supporter."

"I think everyone knows my support for Donald Trump, I was so pleased to see him win, but I think my responsibility is here first and foremost, I've always said that," she told News Limited.

The leader of the right-wing One Nation party was first elected to parliament 20 years ago in a campaign against Australia being "swamped by Asians," and against reparation efforts towards the long-oppressed indigenous population.

She was ousted from the party in 2002 and briefly jailed for electoral fraud, but charges were later overturned. In 2016 she was elected to the Senate alongside three other party candidates. Local news polls put national support for her party at close to 10 percent.

Hanson's current policies include stopping Muslim immigration, installing CCTV in mosques and schools, and banning women from wearing burqas or niqabs in public.

Tickets to Trump's inauguration had been notoriously hard to secure with many Democratic members of the House of Representatives reportedly still ticketless. Britain's chief Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage said he would attend the party.

aw/kl (dpa)

 

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