When I heard Pauline Hanson was running in the NSW election, I found myself getting angry. Who does she think she is, I wondered, coming into our state and trying to take the jobs of our NSW MLCs? And I can guarantee she won’t make the slightest effort to assimilate to our NSW values. Oh no, she’ll just bring her own anti-Muslim beliefs in and try to impose them on the rest of us.
The rules for migrating here are too flexible, I reckon. You shouldn’t just be able to rock up, and jump the queue ahead of other New South Welsh people who’ve built up their political careers the hard way. I don’t like it. No, not one little bit.
In all seriousness, though – isn’t it time there was a residency requirement? Two years of being registered to vote here would be a great start. You shouldn’t be able to run for the State election in Queensland, and then duck south of the border in the hope that our state contains enough bigots to get you over the line, because your own abolished its Upper House.
In order to be able to represent the people of NSW, you should surely start by being one of them for a bit. NSW’s constitution can be changed by an Act of Parliament, so let’s hope Premier O’Farrell sorts this out.
I suppose Hanson deserves credit for at least reminding people there’s an election on. If you want to know just how profoundly boring the NSW contest is, you need only observe that her announcement has created the most interesting moment of Campaign 2011 so far. Since it’s either Pauline, Barry O’Farrell talking about motorways, or Kristina Keneally talking about anything, it’s not surprising that her announcement has mildly piqued the interest of those few of us who are paying attention.
So she’s all over the media again today. Even though she always does this. Even though she won’t win. Even though she’s only ever won once before, when the ballot paper said “Liberal” next to her name in Oxley, despite her being dis-endorsed before polling day.
Pauline’s return means that yet again, we’ve returned to the familiar argument about whether she’s racist or not. No less an authority on the subject of irrational hatred than David Oldfield has sprung to her defence on 2UE, pointing out that just because she indisputably hates Muslims, that doesn’t make her a racist, because technically it’s a religion, not a race.
Yes, yes; well done. I can’t point to anything detailed and specifically racist that Hanson’s said on the public record. She’s never written her own version of Mein Kampf. In fact, she doesn’t really offer complex arguments about anything – her pitch is a general, non-specific unease about people who are different from her. Like her voters, she’d never say anything overtly racist in public – of course not, because of the dreaded oppression that is “political correctness”. One Nation voters keep their views on race closeted away, and it’s to the credit of the rest of us that they do.
But to argue that someone who repeated only today that she is against multiculturalism is not demonstrably racist is a technicality. Just as when I say that David Oldfield is a hideous boil on the arse of Australian politics whose opinion should not be sought at a dinner party, let alone on commercial radio, I’m incorrect because technically, boils contain pus instead of bile.
Hanson is a diluted version of a tea partier, offering a similarly simplistic us-vs-them analysis bolstered by an instinctive mistrust of anyone who knows what they’re talking about, or the definition of “xenophobic”. Hers is a world where good old fashioned common sense trumps everything else, if by “common sense” you mean “the instant reaction of a person who hasn’t really thought or read much about it.” It’s a world where, as she once argued, a flat tax just makes sense, in the same way that similar people once thought a flat earth did. And it’s a world where you don’t get to move countries for a better life, unless you’re her, and it’s to England.
But honestly, I’ve had enough of this tawdry sideshow every single election. Pauline’s addiction to the limelight is almost as unhealthy as Charlie Sheen’s. It’s surely only a matter of time until she unveils a “Running” tattoo on her wrist. She has become a perpetual candidate, and unlike the UK’s Official Monster Raving Loony Party, it’s not entertaining.
It’s time to wean her of this addiction, and remove this perpetual irritant from our lives. Fortunately, there’s an easier solution than getting her locked up, like Tony Abbott did. (To read about the Australians for Honest Politics trust, try and decipher this awesomely illegible SMH page). Her house was going for $2.15 million recently, because of her plan to relocate to England, but it didn’t ultimately sell.
So, all we need is for 215,000 people to pledge ten bucks to buy the thing, and perhaps turn it into a Museum of Tolerance – or, if our primary aim is to annoy her, a mosque. GetUp could raise that in a few days, I reckon. I’m happy to pledge a couple of hundred bucks myself, just to avoid having to read about her ever again. Heck, I’ll even kick in for her plane ticket. As long as it’s one way.