Sociologic #4: The 2016 fed election & Pauline Hanson

cover170x170It is hard to imagine that a few months have already passed since the federal election.

One of the reasons that it feels so recent is that it was only just decided. In fact, the  Senate puzzle was only sorted over the last week.

There are many talking points that emerge from the election – key amongst them being the re-rise of Pauline Hanson and her ‘One Nation’ Party.

For those of us who see the future of Australia as diverse, integrated, progressive and enlightened, the re-emergence of One Nation is concerning. Pauline Hanson has shown herself as an opportunist who is revisiting hateful rhetoric: moving from ‘Asians’ – the source of her fear-mongering 20 years ago – to ‘Muslims’ – the target of her campaigning today.

The absurdity of her statements cannot be over emphasised.

For example, when she makes these remarks, who exactly is she referring to? The 4.3 billion Asians across the world or the 1.6 billions Muslims.

Like Europeans or Americans, these are complex and diverse communities. But for Hanson, it is simple to lump billions of people under one label and create a ludicrous ‘clash of civilisation mentality’.

But if you analyse Hanson’s support base, the idea that all the people voted for her was because of her racist remarks does not always take shape. In the most recent Sociologic podcast, Senior Political Correspondent from Fairfax news, Matt Wade, notes that two of her strongest electorates in NSW have very low immigration. Rather, they are economically marginalised electorates that have been suffering from the mining downturn, If Wade is correct, then the fear is not one of ‘the other’, but of being placed on the economic scrap heap.

This is a fear that should not be taken lightly – and if there is one thing we know about neoliberalism policies is that there is little, if any, consideration, for those left behind.

These concerns should be the focus of our engagement with voters that have decided to support Hanson.

The second talking point, also raised by Wade in the podcast, was that we are continuing to witness the decline of the major parties.

The primary vote for both parties fell – and this is a long-term trend that many commentators have identified.

Writing in 2009 for the Whitlam Institute, I noted that while this was evident in the voting habits of young people: the report is available here…

Further, young people were a leading indicator for trends that would soon expand across the population.

The podcast is available here…

I would love you to listen, subscribe and as always, welcome your engagement.

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