Pauline Hanson – A Political Phenomenon.
This is another guest article by one of our regular contributors, Blackswan, who hails from Australia. It discusses Pauline Hanson, yet another politician who is outside what would be termed the political establishment, but who has still garnered a following. My feeling is she is yet another example of what I think is a worldwide trend of non-mainstream politicians coming to the fore because they’re prepared to talk forthrightly about subjects which are consensually forbidden by mainstream politicians and the media alike.
She, like Trump, Sanders, Corbyn, Le Pen and others scattered across Europe, is finding a real resonance with electorates who feel ruling elites either ignore them or secretly despise them. What has to be recognised is that portion of the electorate is a lot bigger than they think, as they found out in the recent Brexit referendum, and irrespective of what you might think of these maverick politician’s various policies, they have a right to pitch those policies to an electorate who’ll decide for themselves whether to elect them or not.
What cannot be allowed to go on as a response to such populist movements, are vicious campaigns of vilification by the mass media, and the establishment pointedly ignoring electorates who do not agree fundamentally with the meagre set of options they’re being invited to choose between. The media, because of an overwhelming liberal bias and as they’ve got all the big guns, will always win the propaganda war, but it’s the far right and sometimes extremist parties who are actually winning the only war that really matters – the one in the polling booths.
If you look around at the politics of Europe, that is what’s already happening.
“Thanks Luv, enjoy your lunch. Say G’day to Frank for me – seeya next week.”
The attractive young woman with the short-cropped flaming red hair handed the warm parcel of fish and chips to a beaming customer and flashed a ready smile at the next person in the queue.
Her name was Pauline Hanson, the single mother of four children, her fish shop drawing customers like a magnet. And it wasn’t only the crispy beer-battered fish or the piping hot chips that accounted for Pauline’s loyal customers. It was her capacity to always be ‘up for a chat’ and her forthright opinions on the latest news of the day, or inane local council by-laws, or simply knowing her regulars by name and asking how they were no matter how busy she was.
With the 1996 Federal election in the air many people had suggested she stand as a candidate for the local conservative Liberal Party, so she’d agreed it was time she stood up for her beliefs and, having been pre-selected by the Party, was in the midst of her campaign to wrest the seat of Oxley from the traditionally safe Labor stronghold.
If anyone in Australian politics could ever have been described as “young and naive”, it was Pauline Hanson. She had absolutely no idea of how her life would be turned upside down, how the Political Elite and the Media Machine would chew her up and spit her out; that she would be spat upon, have urine thrown at her, have a security detail to protect her from violent crowds baying for her blood or that she’d be thrown into prison.
As the election drew near, Pauline’s speaking engagements as the Liberal candidate became more earnest, and on one occasion she suggested that Australian Aboriginal people shouldn’t receive special welfare benefits simply based on their race – that all welfare should be based on “need, not skin colour”, and for all Australians to be treated equally.
Local aborigines and the Media erupted in outrage. How dare she? She was a ‘racist’, an ignorant redneck, a bigot … and worse.
She was promptly disendorsed and expelled by the Liberal Party for supposedly racist remarks but remained in the fight, her loyal supporters insisting she not give up, but continue as an Independent. Hanson secured a swing of 19.31% and won the seat in the House of Representatives with a majority of 4.66%.
If she’d caused a stir in the provincial Queensland town of Ipswich, she turned Canberra (the Federal capital) on its head. Her maiden speech in the House of Representatives sent shock waves around the nation which reverberated around the world.
In that speech, the statement which drew the most ire was her assertion that Australia was in danger of being “swamped by Asians”. The fact is that in 1989, following Beijing’s Tiananmen Square massacre of protesting students, Australia’s Socialist Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke, without any discussion with his Cabinet or the Parliament, appeared tearfully on national television to proclaim that all Chinese nationals currently in the country on temporary entry permits could now have permanent residency with work rights and financial assistance, whether they applied for refugee status or not. That also entitled them to bring their families too.
When later told he couldn’t arbitrarily do that, Hawke said “I just did it – it’s done.”
Released by the National Archives, the 1988-89 cabinet documents reveal substantial resistance to the decision by several government departments, including immigration, the Treasury and finance. Departments warned of negative consequences for the budget, the migration program and the labour market.
At that time there were 16,200 Chinese nationals in the country, 7,200 of whom had already overstayed their visas, but in the months following the massacre 20,000 more arrived in the family reunion program. Within two years over 42,000 visas had been approved. It seemed that suddenly Chinese faces were everywhere.
Pauline Hanson’s observation was not racist; she was responding to the concerns of her constituents when no other politician in the country dared voice such opinions.
Also in that speech, she had no idea that in speaking of previously convicted Aborigines holding public office positions, she was sowing the seeds of her ultimate downfall … “I cannot hold my position as a politician if I have a criminal record – once again, two sets of rules.” She had given them the noose and the Establishment set out to hang her with it.
Hanson garnered much support across the country simply because she, and no other, had finally voiced the people’s concerns about multiculturalism, immigration and the ever-increasing taxpayer largesse to the Aboriginal Industry, most of which had vanished into the ether of rampant corruption. People loved or hated Pauline Hanson.
As conservative support for Hanson grew, she became a honeypot for every freeloading would-be-if-he-could-be aspirant to ride the political gravy train on her apron strings.
The following year she was persuaded to found her own One Nation Party with the hope of fielding candidates in state and federal elections around the country. Pauline may have been street-smart but when it came to politics, she was a mere babe in arms.
Too much, too soon, and ill-advised by self-serving people adept at telling her what they thought she wanted to hear.
Her speaking engagements around the country caused violent protests from the Socialist rent-a-crowd brigade ranting against her “racism” – her supporters were accosted and assaulted – she was spat upon – paper cups of urine thrown at her – and her words drowned out by non-stop heckling and catcalls. That was when she could find a venue that didn’t cancel before she even arrived there.
The Media Machine was at full throttle ridiculing her on every level; from her twice-divorced personal history, to approaching her children on their way to and from school. It was relentless, vindictive and incessant.
In one TV interview she was asked if she was “xenophobic”. Unfamiliar with the word, Pauline asked “Please explain?” which, to this day, remains a catch phrase for anything ignorant. Her lack of tertiary education and slick oratory was lampooned around the country. Nobody gave her credit for becoming an astute businesswoman after leaving school at 15, marrying at 16 and with two children by the time she was twenty-one.
Ironically, seeing the popular support many of her views attracted, the Liberal Party included a number of those policies in their own election platform. One Nation’s administration ultimately disintegrated but her personal support base remained and it was clear … Hanson would remain a thorn in the side of the Establishment eroding their two-party-preferred vote until she was thrown out of the political arena altogether.
As she had foretold in her maiden speech, with a criminal record and a prison sentence in excess of twelve months, she could never stand for public office again – and so it was arranged.
Any political party in Australia must have 500 signed-up members before they can be registered in order to field candidates at any election. The Establishment decided that many of those signed-up ‘members’ were only registered as ‘supporters’, not members, and their paid dues were only ‘support donations’, not membership fees.
Pauline Hanson and her chief adviser David Ettridge were duly arrested for electoral fraud, tried by jury which, ill-advised and on fraudulent evidence, found them both ‘guilty’ and they were sentenced to three years in prison with no non-parol period cited. Three years, done and dusted, just like that.
She was whisked off to prison, strip-searched and showered, and allocated a cell. There she remained for almost three months until her appeal was heard, whereupon the Hanson and Ettridge convictions were quashed and they were released.
The Establishment was satisfied. She’d been taken down a peg or two, sufficiently humiliated and ostracised by society, now had zero credibility, so she could go back to her fish shop and start frying schnapper again instead of frying the arses of the Establishment.
That’s the ‘Perils of Pauline’ trait that has always been underestimated in Pauline Hanson. She never gives up, and she never gave in. Having earned their respect and liked by her follow inmates she became their advocate upon her release, bringing notice to some of their difficult situations.
She tried unsuccessfully on numerous occasions to be re-elected to public office, at one stage alleging electoral fraud to keep her out, but she has never been taken seriously again and each time she’s tried to polish the tarnish from her “brand” the Media have made short work of her efforts.
When pundits opine that “politics is a dirty game’, they surely have the ‘fish’n’chip shop lady’ in mind.
However, following the recent 2016 Federal election, a whole new chapter is being written in the rise and fall and rise of Pauline Hanson.
Having developed a manifesto of wide-ranging policies, Hanson and other One Nation representatives stood for the Federal Senate elections and surprise, surprise … Pauline has again won a seat in the Federal Parliament and, with vote-counting still in progress in this tight race, it seems she’s brought a number of successful One Nation candidates with her.
One Nation policies cover the gamut of concerns for disenfranchised Australians. Hanson may not have all the answers, but she sure as hell asks the right questions.
They challenge the pseudo-science of Manmade Climate Change – have the billions of dollars poured into this theory been obtained by fraud?
Is Islam a religion entitled to tax-exempt status or is it a dangerous political movement destined to challenge our Democracy?
Is the UN’s Agenda 21 a subversive Socialist manifesto that challenges property rights and freedom in a bid for complete societal control masquerading under a ‘sustainability’ banner?
Once again Pauline Hanson dominates the headlines, is contemptuously ridiculed by the Media and continues to be seriously underestimated by her opponents, but one thing is certain … Australians generally admire her courage in speaking her mind and for having the tenacity to throw off the tightly buckled straightjacket of ‘political correctness’.
Today it’s not being ‘swamped’ by the Chinese that’s causing concern, it’s the tsunami of legal and illegal immigration of Middle Eastern, Asian and African Islamists that have poured into the country in their hundreds of thousands under recent Socialist Governments. Gang warfare escalates, riots and protest marches turn violent, hate-preaching imams hold sway in every facet of our society including our military forces, as young Australian women are told by those imams that they are like “uncovered meat” and are themselves responsible for the proliferation of rapes and sexual assaults.
As dozens of Muslims head offshore to fight for ISIS and Australians are being murdered in “lone wolf” attacks, the question arises; how many ‘lone wolves’ does it take to form a marauding pack?
The coming three-year term of this newly elected Parliament promises to be anything but dull and boring. Hopefully issues long swept under the carpet will be aired, debated and resolved and Aussies awakened from their previous slumbers as our Ship of State drifted into very muddy waters.
One thing is certain – Pauline Hanson is no longer dismissed as merely a racist redneck fish’n’chip shop lady. She and her colleagues could well hold the balance of power in a precariously hung Parliament proving the folly of all who underestimated her capacity for courage and integrity.
Having secured her place in the Senate, no legislation passed in the House of Representatives can be enacted without Senate approval or amendment so that is where all the horse-trading is done. The Prime Minister doesn’t have enough Liberal Senators to have any of his legislation or his Budget passed in a majority vote, so he is going to have to compromise with an assortment of Independent and various minor party individuals thereby giving the high-profile Hanson her first real opportunity to influence the direction of the Parliament and to finally give her conservative supporters the democratic representation previously denied them by the Socialist Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
It’s been suggested elsewhere that Hanson has “a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock”. Obviously from a macchiato-sipping city hipster because anyone from the Land knows that a mob of wild ’roos in a paddock can cause mayhem. They smash down fences allowing livestock to roam free. That’s what Australians want – the freedom to speak our minds and not to be held hostage to compromised politicians who have sold out to vested interests.
Love her or hate her, the political phenomenon of the age is Pauline Hanson.