Australian politician Pauline Hanson has came under fire after making a controversial remark on children with autism. The 63-year-old on Wednesday (21 June) said that the autistic students should be separated from mainstream schools.
Hanson also added that these children should be removed from the classrooms as they need special assistance.
"These kids have a right to an education, by all means, but, if there are a number of them, these children should go into a special classroom and be looked after and given that special attention," the head of anti-immigration One Nation party said on Wednesday (21 June) night.
"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.
"It is no good saying that we have to allow these kids to feel good about themselves and that we do not want to upset them and make them feel hurt. But we have to be realistic at times and consider the impact that is having on other children in that classroom."
The comments from Hanson came amid when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is set to pass funding worth A$23.5b (£14b; $18b) for Australian schools. However, to pass it, the premier needs support of Hanson – who recently called for a ban on Muslims entering her homeland in the wake of the London Bridge terror attack.
However, the leader's opinion has not gone well with the government MPs, the opposition, parents and disability rights advocates – who have criticised her for her insensitivity and ignorance.
They have also demanded an apology from her, the BBC reported.
David Roy from the University of Newcastle's school of education said that Hanson's remarks were just ill-informed. Experts were also quoted as saying that though these children might have an insufficiency in one area, but inclusive education was always fruitful for students with and without disabilities.
Labor MP Emma Husar, who is a mother of 10-year-old son with autism, said the Hanson's comments have left her "angry and disappointed".
"She owes an apology to every single autistic child in this country, every one of the parents who are like me because we got better things to do than to defend our kids," Husar said.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said it was "heartbreaking and upsetting" for parents of autistic children to hear Hanson's comments. He also mentioned about the email he received from parents in response to her thoughtless comments.
"What the senator is saying is that our clever, funny, naughty, spunky kid doesn't deserve a good education. That she doesn't deserve the same opportunities as other kids. That she is lesser. Not worthy. Not really one of us," Shorten read the mail sent by a parent.
Hanson, however, defended her remarks on Thursday, saying they have been manipulated. She also insisted people to "go back" and watch her tape.