Sunrise host David ‘Kochie’ Koch says he was ‘tipped over the edge’ by Pauline Hanson, and admits he ‘went her’ during an interview on Monday.
Speaking to Kyle and Jackie O, the veteran TV host said Hanson’s divisive words and policies were doing damage to Muslim communities and he had seen it first hand.
Koch, who runs a youth centre in Macquarie Fields, said Muslim kids experienced real-life ramifications when politicians like Hanson made divisive comments.
‘I went her, because [of] her words, and probably I’m a bit too passionate about this because I do work with Muslim youth workers in western Sydney,’ he said.
Sunrise host David Koch says he ‘went’ Pauline Hanson on Monday over her words about Muslims because he was so deeply affected by the Mosque massacre in Christchurch last Friday
‘When politicians talk and they pit Australians against Muslims, and the scaremongering, these kids deal with it on the street.
‘What happened in New Zealand really got to me. We’re a society now that’s becoming a bit dangerous.’
Koch said Muslim children faced real-life consequences when politicians made hateful remarks
Koch didn’t hold back when the One Nation leader appeared on Seven’s breakfast program, grilling the federal senator on her party’s ‘anti-Muslim policies’ in the wake of last Friday’s Christchurch terrorist attack which claimed 50 lives.
Koch even drew comparisons between accused Christchurch shooter Brenton Tarrant’s 74-page manifesto to One Nation’s immigration and Muslim policy.
‘This terrorist manifesto almost reads like One Nation immigration and Muslim policy. Do you feel complicit with this atrocity?’ Koch asked Hanson.
‘The anti-Muslim rhetoric that you espouse constantly here, that you did in your maiden speech when you came to parliament. Do you understand?’
A defiant Ms Hanson hit back.
‘David, I feel for those people and I feel for those families who have lost lives. The same across the road here when we had the Lindt Cafe terrorist attacks.
‘We have problems but you’ve actually got to discuss it and debate the issue. Why we have these terrorist attacks in this country. Why is it happening around the world? Why is it happening in many places?’
Many viewers were left outraged at Ms Hanson’s treatment on-screen and labelled it ‘intimidating behaviour’.
A petition with over 122,000 signatures has since been set up calling for the host’s sacking.
But Koch said the conversation did not go too far, and Hanson should have thicker skin from her time in Parliament.
‘Pauline’s had worse in parliament, she’s the leader of a political party,’ he told Kyle and Jackie O.
In a three-minute video shared to Facebook, Hanson said the interview was ‘an ambush’.
‘I felt that way too because I haven’t been able to explain myself properly and answer the questions. I know how you feel because you feel exactly the same way and you feel you don’t have a voice.’
A fired-up Ms Hanson then questioned whether Mr Koch and Senator Hinch – who was also involved in part of the on-air interview – had actually read her party’s immigration policies.
‘Do they understand? I don’t think they do. They’re quick to criticise me, but when I get out and speak to people, I know how you feel because I feel exactly the same way,’ she said.
Ms Hanson reiterated she didn’t condone the Christchurch terrorist attack or the way it was conducted ‘in any way shape or form’ but said people were in fear of ‘the ever-changing society we now live in’.
‘My heartfelt sympathies go out to the people who have lost their lives and their loved one, the same as I did for all of the other terrorist attacks that happened through out the world,’ Ms Hanson said.
‘My comments are purely based on let’s find the reasons behind these terrorist attacks. Don’t shut down debate. Give the people an opportunity to have their say.’
Ms Hanson, for her part, hit back at Koch following the interview and branded it an ‘ambush’
Ms Hanson again downplayed previous connections to under-fire Senator Fraser Anning after being ambushed by Koch and Senator Hinch when she said she would abstain from a vote to censure Mr Anning following his controversial comments on immigration in the wake of the Christchurch mosque shootings.
‘I don’t agree with anything Fraser Anning has said in placing the blame on these innocent people, that’s not the way to go about it,’ she said in the video.
Koch said politicians should be held more accountable for their words, and ‘othering’ people from different races to help win votes was an old and unwise play.
‘Politicians don’t understand the power of their words, particularly in an election campaign,’ he said.
‘Australia, we are so compassionate, so understanding, and we’re proud of it. We’re the best multicultural nation in the world.’
Refusing to apologise for his actions, he summed up the response from Hanson in just four words.
‘Sometimes you offend people,’ he said.