‘Salt in the wound’: Pauline Hanson stubby holders sent to locked down public housing towers

A Melbourne public housing tenant says it’s disappointing to learn One Nation stubby holders were sent to his locked-down estate just after Pauline Hanson labelled residents “drug addicts” on TV.Key points:Senator Hanson controversially labelled public housing residents under lockdown as “drug addicts” and “alcoholics” on breakfast televisionSoon after, One Nation-branded stubby holders were sent to the towersThe ABC understands that on advice from community leaders, a decision was made not to hand out the stubby holders in the towersIt’s been revealed Ms Hanson attempted to send the merchandise to residents of some of the towers after her appearance on breakfast television, in which she labelled them “drug addicts” and “alcoholics”.At the height of the controversial hard lockdown of nine public housing towers in Melbourne, Senator Hanson made the comments on Channel Nine’s Today Show — which then cancelled her regular guest appearances.Soon after, Ms Hanson posted residents of some of the towers a One Nation branded stubby holder, with the line “I’ve got the guts to say what you’re thinking” printed on the outside, along with a handwritten note saying, “No hard feelings”.The 114 parcels were addressed “to the householder”, but never made it to the residents in the towers.Tower resident Girmay Mengesha said it was a “disappointing” move by the Senator — but he was uncomfortable that an external party may have taken the decision to block the delivery. It is understood the One Nation stubby cooler was sent to 114 residents in Melbourne’s locked down towers.(One Nation)”I don’t believe anyone would have read that stubby holder, or used that stubby holder. Personally I would have thrown it in the bin,” he said.”It feels like salt in the wound, because it’s not an apology,” Mr Mengesha said.”It was disappointing. It’s not what I expect from our politicians, especially during a crisis.”The ABC contacted Senator Hanson’s office for comment, but was referred to a tweet where Ms Hanson labelled it “a storm in a stubby cooler”.Inquiry reveals failings in hotel quarantineComplaint lodged with AFP over Pauline Hanson stubby holdersThe Age newspaper has today printed parts of an email from Australia Post lawyer Nick Macdonald to City of Melbourne CEO Justin Hanney, sent on Saturday, July 11.In it, Mr Macdonald raises concerns the parcels are “being withheld from the addressees”.”We understand that the Parcels were properly delivered by Australia Post on Thursday morning, in accordance with the arrangements in place under lock down restrictions.”Specifically, the Parcels were delivered to the Command Post Foyer at the building, after Australia Post staff received a clear assurance that the Parcels would then be promptly distributed by Command Post staff to the addressees.”Please confirm by 4pm today that the Parcels have been distributed to the Addressees.”If we do not receive confirmation, we will consider what further steps are necessary to deal with this situation — including whether it is appropriate to notify the Police or other relevant authorities.”In a statement today, Australia Post said it delivered the parcels to the site control centre, which was being run by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the City of Melbourne, and raised the issue when they weren’t delivered.”Upon subsequently being made aware that the items did not reach their ultimate destination, we raised it with the City of Melbourne and engaged with the sender in good faith to resolve the matter,” the statement said.Mr Hanney said in a statement that the council consulted with Australia Post and lodged a complaint with the Australian Federal Police to investigate whether the generically addressed, identical parcels breached the Commonwealth Criminal Code.Mr Hanney said that once the City of Melbourne stopped being responsible for deliveries to the estate it requested Australia Post collect the parcels, and withdrew its complaint to the AFP.The ABC understands that on advice from community leaders a decision was made not to hand out the stubby holders in the towers.It is understood the gift was viewed as culturally insensitive and would have inflamed an already volatile situation.The ABC has been told that providing medical supplies, appropriate food and goods to support the residents during the lockdown was given priority.

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