Firebrand Hanson back as One Nation leader in Australia

Australian firebrand politician Pauline Hanson, who once claimed Asians were in danger of swamping the country, said Wednesday she was returning to lead the One Nation party after a 12-year hiatus. Hanson, who rose to prominence in the 1990s as head of the right-wing, anti-immigration party she co-founded, said the time was right as she hit out at multiculturalism, halal beliefs and foreign ownership of land and property. "I was terribly concerned for Australia when first in parliament, but more so now," she said on the One Nation website after being re-elected by the party executive. "We are witnessing large amounts of our prime farming land and housing sold to foreign ownership. "The push for multiculturalism is only segregating us as a nation and not uniting us as Australians with the same values, beliefs and laws. Halal is being forced on us by two percent of the population," she added. "Increased violence, educational standards well below world standard and our health care are a lot to be desired. Our elderly are living in poverty and families struggling to make ends meet." As part of her return, the party is expected to be rebranded as Pauline Hanson's One Nation, a move she claimed had nothing to do with ego. "I think that people relate to me," said Hanson, who spent several weeks in jail in 2003 for fraudulently spending electoral funds before the judgement was quashed. "If I don't succeed then it'll be my fault. But no one's going to pull my strings. No one's going to tell me what to say." Hanson shot to fame in the 1990s when she ditched her fish and chip shop to represent a Queensland state electorate in the national parliament, forming One Nation. She lost her seat in 1998 and quit as One Nation's leader in 2002. Hanson said she was reluctant to return, but felt she had no choice given voter disillusionment with the Greens and the Palmer United Party -- the opposition to Labor and Tony Abbott's ruling conservatives. "I think that people want an honest voice; they want to know what's going on," she said, with her first electoral test expected to come next year when Queenslanders go to the polls.