PAULINE Hanson, the controversial founder of the One Nation Party now making a new bid to re-enter the Senate, has come out punching for expatriate New Zealanders.
She joins Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's brother Greg, also running for the Senate from the opposite political pole, in condemning policies that have been in place since 2001.
New Zealanders arriving since then pay full taxes but have few rights, are denied access to most federal and state services and programmes, and are classed as temporary residents no matter how long they have lived and worked across the Tasman. Successive governments have rejected calls for change.
Some political analysts believe Pauline Hanson could have a chance of winning a Senate seat in New South Wales because more than a dozen small right-wing parties have listed her high on their preference lists.
Yesterday, she condemned the expat Kiwi policy as "unreasonable and discriminatory", saying many New Zealanders were "stuck between a rock and a hard place".
"They are working, paying their taxes, and raising families, but when hardship hits they cannot apply to receive help from our social security system," she said.
"Many New Zealanders are then left homeless, destitute and desperate ...
"We have opened our borders and our hearts to people from all over the world offering them the opportunity to become Australian citizens, but not to our closest neighbours, our allies and our Anzac mates."
Pauline Hanson said citizenship and social security laws should be amended to include all New Zealand citizens who arrived in Australia as a child or who had continuously lived in NZ for five years as a citizen.
Under this policy Kiwis would become eligible for social security after the usual two-year waiting period and eligible for citizenship after four years' residence in Australia, the same conditions applying for all other permanent migrants.
"This would restore Russell Crowe's eligibility for Australian citizenship," Pauline Hanson said.
"If Russell Crowe is good enough to be put on our Australian stamp as an Australian legend, then why deny him the right to become an Australian citizen if he so wishes?"
*Australian politician from 1996 to 1998.
*Former leader and founder of the One Nation Party.
*Proved controversial and accused of being racist for her criticism of multiculturalism and the idea that aboriginal Australians received more benefits than other Australians.
*Made the phrase "Please explain?'' famous, following an interview in which she was asked whether she was xenophobic.