Hanson snags social media influencer for SA Senate run

ONE of Australia's biggest social media influencers has emerged as Pauline Hanson's second South Australian One Nation Senate candidate.

Emma Azzopardi, who has more than half a million Twitter followers, has announced she will put her career on the line to spruik One Nation's policies at the May 18 election.

In an exclusive interview with The Advertiser, Ms Azzopardi says she was approached by the party three weeks ago, after she expressed disgust online for the way Senator Hanson was interviewed on Sunrise.

"Everyone has said if you like Pauline Hanson, then you're a racist, and I would say that is definitely not the case. My husband is Maltese, my business partner is Chinese and one of my best friends is African-American," Ms Azzopardi, 41 said.

"When I read the policies I realised that wasn't the case, and I thought … I want to work with Pauline."

 

Senator Pauline Hanson with newly announced Senate candidate for SA, Emma Azzopardi. Picture: AAP / Mike Burton
Senator Pauline Hanson with newly announced Senate candidate for SA, Emma Azzopardi. Picture: AAP / Mike Burton

Ms Azzopardi would not be drawn on her support for several One Nation policies saying she needed to spend more time with her team - Ms Hanson and lead SA candidate Jennifer Game.

She plans to target voters through her "powerhouse" social media accounts, including disengaged Millennials about One Nation's immigration policy.

"That (immigration) is going to affect the Millennials as time goes past if it doesn't change," Ms Azzopardi said.

"Unlike a lot of people, I have 550,000 people to talk to - 287,000 of them are from Australia.

"That could affect my career, because that is my career, but I believe in it so much that I'm going to go to town on social media."

 

Senator Pauline Hanson with SA Senate candidates Jennifer Game and Emma Azzopardi in Victoria Square. Picture: AAP / Mike Burton
Senator Pauline Hanson with SA Senate candidates Jennifer Game and Emma Azzopardi in Victoria Square. Picture: AAP / Mike Burton

The married mother-of-one, who lives on a yacht in North Haven, previously worked in the travel industry before a degenerative spinal disease at age 31 left her bedridden for more than 18 months.

Formerly Emma Illies, she began tweeting motivational quotes in 2009 and made more money developing social media marketing strategies than she was making in the travel industry.

The influencer and motivational speaker, who says she is about "empowering women", has the most popular SA Twitter account with 540,000 followers - including former Prime Minister Julia Gillard, SA speaker Vincent Tarzia, political party SA Best, and former independent MP Cathy McGowan.

Her website says she was recently voted 28th most inspirational tweeter in the world and has been on eight Forbes lists.

She also has an Instagram account with 18,000 followers.

Last year it was reported she offered to sell 2500 Twitter followers for $250US, revealing questionable business tactics in the social media world.

Although she has contributed to the social media campaigns of aspiring politicians, including former Port Adelaide Mayor Gary Johanson, Ms Azzopardi admits she is "not a political animal".

"I want to give people a voice they didn't know they had, an educated voice, not a voice of just jumping on the bandwagon of things that we are all passionate about which is racism and guns," she said.