Around a year ago, I sat down to write a column about Pauline Hanson. In essence, it was to be a concession.
My intention was to concede defeat, in spite of a personal and strong dislike towards her policy positions and commentary over the last 22 years.
To me it appeared that Ms Hanson’s ability to appeal to the lowest of low common denominators had ultimately proven a success. Through division and hate she had, in fact, succeeded in convincing a significant percentage of Australians that race, culture and hatred did indeed go hand in hand and were a threat to Australia’s future.
In 1996 I was 24 years old; searching for professional purpose and grappling with much of the social change occurring in Australia at the time. That year, Hanson’s maiden speech alluded to a nation being “swamped by Asians” and frankly, reeked of racism, ignorance and intolerance.
Yet some 12 months ago, as I sat down to write, it felt like time to admit that she had well and truly won the battle, such was the number of sympathisers she appeared to have won over.
It brought me no joy to admit, nor did I want to encourage any celebration on her behalf. My point was to be more about her followers and the fact that an uneducated and provocative red head with zero political nous could indeed gain significant popular support on the back of divisive words.
Thankfully, I never completed the piece. My heart was torn as a laboured over it and it was jettisoned to the slim ‘incomplete’ folder on my desktop.
You see, my wife is a migrant. Middle-Eastern in fact. She is a spiritual being, hard working and clever enough to have achieved multiple educational degrees. Sadly, she is also a part of the wave of immigration that Ms Hanson feels is responsible for the changes in Australian culture and identity that threaten her so acutely.
My own childhood roots lie in the inner-west of Sydney and the hodgepodge of ethnic groups that settled there during the 1970’s and 80’s. That personal experience and watching my culturally mixed children venture into modern Australian society has taught me much about difference, acceptance and empathy.
Thankfully, had I actually finished the piece I intended to write, it would now seem in error. Ms Hanson has taken one monumental fall after another in 2019 and in a somewhat bizarre and comical performance on commercial television earlier this week, appeared to expect sympathy.
Her rather loosely defined ‘Party’ has now been thoroughly exposed as nothing but a collection of bigoted, conspiracy theorist, homophobic, racist and sexist buffoons who dare question the integrity of others whilst appearing to possess little of their own.
One Nation has rightfully plummeted in opinion polls in recent times. With just 4% support for the embattled party registered in recent Newspoll results (the lowest since 2016) one must question the narrow minded determination and ignorance of that 4%.
As sure as day leads to night, there will be a small selection of hillbillies hell bent on ensuring that some rather questionable One Nation candidates are elected on May 18.
Thankfully, Ross Macdonald and Steve Dickson stand no chance after their embarrassing departures. However, what remains is scary and divisive and the intelligence of those still prepared to cast a vote in One Nation’s direction is concerning for our country.
The demise of a party that attempts to deflect criticism of its representatives abroad due to the fact that they were “on the sauce”, might just be the best thing to emerge from the 2019 Federal Election.
Hanson’s appearance on the Nine Network’s A Current Affair was stunningly embarrassing and fitting. Hanson claimed she felt as though she was being “kicked in the guts time and time again”, during her conversation with Tracy Grimshaw.
That fact that she was in fact kicking herself in the guts thanks to aligning her party with some rather dubious people seemed far beyond the realms of Ms Hanson’s intelligence.
I wondered if the gut kicking feelings she claimed to be experiencing might be similar to those of my Muslim friends. Those innocent people insulted by her constant vitriol and infamous Burka-wearing stunt on the floor of the Australian Parliament.
I thought about the beautiful migrant families that run small businesses in my neck of the woods; those hard working people who do my taxes, monitor my kids dental health and run wonderfully delicious restaurants.
Of course, Hanson can say what she likes and has done so for over 20 years. Under the guise of some honest campaign to fight terrorism, she has continued to divide, alienate and destroy.
Seeing her in tears that resulted from her own stupidity and poor decision making brought me limitless satisfaction. It also made me immeasurably glad that I didn’t write that article 12 months ago; conceding defeat and admitting that Ms Hanson had indeed won the battle.
In actual fact, she has lost. Badly. And deservedly so.