THE MURDOCH PRESS reports today that former MP, One Nation founder, repeatedly defeated candidate and general embarrassment Pauline Hanson is set to resume in elective politics, having reclaimed the leadership of the party she founded 17 years ago; this news is a joke, and whatever Hanson’s latest motive or whatever “emergency” she purports to seek to solve, Australia “needs” Hanson like the proverbial hole in the head.
State seats. Federal seats. Lower house seats. Upper house seats. Having first been an obscure local councillor in Ipswich 20 years ago before achieving notoriety as a disendorsed Liberal candidate in 1996 and suffering a plethora of electoral defeats in the decades since, you’d think she might have got the message.
Yet the news this morning that serial candidate and national embarrassment Pauline Hanson is set to re-enter politics would at least make for a bit of sport for election watchers and commentators if it weren’t so ridiculous, or likely to result in the characteristic disruption that seems to follow Hanson wherever she goes.
Nearing the four-year mark of writing on political affairs in Australia, my readers know I have little time for Hanson and her odious agenda, and whilst we’ve discussed her fairly infrequently — and people can recap on these moments here — I think it is fair to say the last thing this column has ever offered Ms Hanson is support.
And why would we?
The news Hanson is set to reclaim the leadership and “chairmanship” of her One Nation party — and to stand, yet again, for Parliament somewhere, anywhere — should send a shudder down the spines of reasonable conservative politicians across Australia, who typically wear the brunt of the lamentable Hanson’s political forays.
And it is unclear exactly where Hanson proposes to stand for office, or at which level of government; about the only thing that can be said with any certainty is that with nominations now closed for the state election taking place in Victoria in a little over a week, it won’t be here — and thank goodness for that.
But with other elections set to occur early next year in two states and a federal election a bit over 18 months away, she might even stand in all of them: because for all her talk of being the “mother” of Australia and her propensity to pop up all over the country in search of seats in Parliament, the last thing anyone could accuse Hanson of is loyalty to one, fixed set of voters.
Whether through delusion or some arrogant conviction that her appeal really is greater than the two modest wins she has to her credit — despite a raft of embarrassing defeats — Hanson has shown she expects voters everywhere to buy into her bullshit.
Now 60 years old, there is no indication that she has any fresh ideas or driving imperative to claim elective office; having previously campaigned on — and alienated — groups ranging from Aborigines to Asians to Muslims, it remains to be seen which will be her target now.
But with recent pronouncements that “16 to 25 percent” of Muslims are radicalised fundamentalists, it’s not hard to guess.
I’m not going to labour the point; having noted Hanson’s re-emergence, the mainstream press would be responsible to limit its coverage of Hanson’s activities, lest it unduly promote her insidious enterprise: after all, in the absence of media oxygen, it will be more difficult for her latest foray into politics to succeed.
And I will restate my biggest criticism of Hanson: even allowing for the possibility she is sincere in her concerns and stands on issues that are valid (which is a debatable point at the minimum), Hanson is adept at voicing “problems,” but when it comes to the former “fish and chip bitch from Ipswich” — as one pop song once caricatured her — there is never a solution to be seen.
I just think Australia has moved on from the era of “shock politics” that propelled Hanson to prominence 20 years ago.
And whilst the spectacle of fragmented upper houses across the country has made stable and effective government virtually impossible, at both state and federal levels, this is a problem that derives from electoral systems that have been progressively rigged by Labor administrations in recent times — and is not some “problem” Hanson represents a fix to.
In fact, she will simply make a bad situation worse if (God forbid) she is ever elected.
This country needs a proven disruptive influence of Hanson’s “calibre” like it needs the proverbial hole in the head.
And with the likes of the insidious, brainless Jacqui Lambie soaking up taxpayer dollars on parliamentary salaries for which there is no merit-based justification in paying, there are already enough idiots in office as it is without adding further to their ranks.
At least this time, nobody can say they haven’t been warned…