Australian right-wing politician and renowned shit-stirrer Pauline Hanson has become a subject of ire in Indonesia, following her recent public tirade in which she said travelers in Bali could bring the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) down under because, apparently, cow manure fills the island’s streets and tourists walk all over them.
The rant from the One Nation party founder and leader was uploaded on Instagram over the weekend. The Aussie did not hold back, saying that, “Bali is totally different to other countries” when it comes to disease control.
“Cattle shit on the ground, people walk in that shit. That shit is then brought back in their clothing and on their person and back into this country,” Hanson described Bali in the video.
While it’s true that cow dung may be found on the streets in Bali, the reality is that such a thing is generally confined to rural areas and around farms. Cow dung is virtually absent at tourist hotspots, nor is it all over the island like Hanson implied in her fear-mongering claim.
While the Australian government has made it clear that they take the FMD outbreak seriously (remember the huge fine for that traveler carrying McDonald’s down under?), it has resisted calls to shut the country’s border to Indonesia.
In the archipelago, Senator Hanson’s claims touched the nerves of some of Indonesia’s top officials.
Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Uno took to his official Instagram account to express his disappointment towards Hanson’s remarks.
“What [she said] was not based on facts. I say this firmly and straightforwardly, do not insult Bali, the icon and the heart of Indonesian tourism,” he said.
Thanking TikToker Damian Hoo for debunking Hanson’s claims (check out Hoo’s witty clip here), Sandiaga said that Bali is bouncing back from the pandemic tourism lull, and that false statements could hinder the recovery.
“And FYI, Bali is not a country. [You, Hanson] perhaps did not take social science classes. Next time please check with Google. Thank you,” Sandiaga added.
The spokesman of the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Teuku Faizasyah, also chimed in.
“It is actually useless to comment on a narrow-minded person like Hanson,” he told Coconuts Bali.
“The question is has this person ever visited Bali? Perhaps she only lived in her own imagination.”
Bali Governor Wayan Koster said yesterday that he also questioned Hanson’s statement, adding that the island had managed to handle trash and dirt. He even asked the senator to show which locations in Bali are filled with cow manure as she claimed.
Forrister Jenot, a 56-year-old sales and service consultant who resides in Melbourne and recently traveled to Bali, lambasted Hanson.
“She is the biggest joke in our country. She is the biggest pile of cow shit ever,” he said, adding that Hanson was “a shit-stirrer”.
Indonesia’s FMD outbreak began in May this year – decades after the eradication of the disease in 1986.
Last month, Sandiaga, citing the Ministry of Health’s statement, said that FMD spread in Indonesia remains in check.
Sandiaga particularly addressed Australia, which concerns that the outbreak could be harmful toward their agriculture, in his public announcement, stating that his department has communicated their precautionary measures to the neighboring country to reassure them that the disease is under control.
“We communicated our steps to Australia and all of the stakeholders to give a sense of security among travelers,” he said.