OUTSPOKEN One Nation senator Pauline Hanson was asked to "please explain" why her visit to Swan Hill last week had been kept under wraps.
The One Nation leader and her colleagues, New South Wales senator Brian Burston and Queensland senator Malcolm Roberts, were on a listening tour of the Murray-Darling Basin when they stopped by the city on Wednesday to meet local business owners.
However, it wasn't until Ms Hanson's entourage arrived at border towns when she made her visit public, posting videos and photos on her Facebook page.
The Guardian understands locals, who knew she was in the area, were told not to disclose her whereabouts.
"So often the best way to find solutions to many of our problems is to meet the locals and listen to what they have to say," Ms Hanson said on her Facebook page.
Ms Hanson met with irrigators, farmers and local businesses in the basin, who had angrily voiced concerns over the triple bottom line, specifically the removal of irrigation water for the environment.
"What I am hearing all across Australia is that locals are being ignored and mistakes are being made.
"The other parties need to start listening to their local communities, because if you're looking for some common sense solutions a little local knowledge can go a long way."
During a stopover on her way to Mildura, Ms Hanson bought a pie from the Swan Hill Bakehouse.
Swan Hill Bakehouse owner Wendy Buckingham said she was a 'lovely' lady and was pleased to see a politician eating a pie off a paper bag at taxpayers' expense.
"We all looked at each other with a silent nod and it went from there," Ms Buckingham said.
"She stayed for about 20 minutes, ate her pie and were able to thank her for dropping in and supporting a local business."
Ms Hanson told the major parties to "wake up" because they were killing farming in the country.
"Dairy farmers are getting 34 cents a litre for milk when their break even point is 41 cents. Water was once free for farmers, but changes to a number of state water laws are killing these industries," she said.
"When you privatise water and allow foreign nationals to buy our resources, bad things happen and we're seeing it first hand on this trip."
Wakool farmer John Lolicato said he was impressed by Ms Hanson's willingness to listen to irrigators.
"I don't have much time for politicians at the moment, and the image portrayed by the media isn't the person she is when you meet her," Mr Lolicato said.
"She is a lot smarter than you think.
"One of the main things we got through to her was our biggest problem with the basin plan, which is agencies not listening to locals."