A vexed question, and after the past couple of days where One Nation Senators, Roberts and Hanson, stood in the Red chamber to air their particularly personal gripes, we who think much more broadly need to ask ourselves, just how should we handle such mindsets.
The attitudes expressed by One Nation proponents and adherents to the thoughts and policies promoted by such people are, thankfully, in a tiny minority in Australia. The younger people who I have contact with on a daily basis find such views anathema to their own, their way of life and the Australia they feel a part of. Sadly, it appears that my generation, and what remains of the generation before me, are the guardians of isolationist thought. Make no mistake, this is what Hanson et al promote. Isolationism. We are who we are because we just are. Who and what we are is all there is and all that must be allowed to be. You’re either one of us, or you’re a threat to what we are. Fear, pure and simple, is what drives these mindsets. Fear of change, fear of difference, fear of the inevitability of progress.
Hanson’s reiteration yesterday of an address she first made to the House of Representatives simply replaced indigenous Australians and ‘Asians’ with ‘Muslims’ and mentions of “halal”, burqas”, “ISIS”, “terrorism”, “radicalisation” and “Islam”. The ill-informed rant about Family Law remained, as did the claim that welfare is aiding and abetting, even exacerbating the supposed ‘problems’ with immigration processes. This tells me she operates on an extremely narrow knowledge base, fed principally by ignorance and an ardent unwillingness to accept reality, instead preferring to believe in that which makes her feel most comfortable. In other words, her beliefs, and those fostered by the One Nation policy platform, are based on fear.
I’m not going to deal with any of the other One Nation Senators here. Frankly, none are worthy of the time or effort. To simply say they are creatures of their own cyclopean views is sufficient. Their beliefs are unique to themselves, and should remain that way. Isolated, ignored and shelved as being unrealistic. Where these individuals do deserve scrutiny is in their interactions with the core of Government and Opposition Party(ies). Only there can they be considered in any way dangerous because they provide convenience ammunition for extremist ideals on both the extreme left and extreme right of our body politick. Otherwise, they ought to be treated as misguided, somewhat naughty children, to be carefully monitored.
As for Hanson herself, yes, she is dangerous. Dangerous because of her self-promoted profile, her arrogance and overt ignorance on just about any issue she decides to sink her fangs into. Hanson comes from the extreme right of the ideological spectrum. The Liberal Party, circa 1996, dropped her like a hot spud, which led to her surfing a wave of indignation and insult to the House of Reps in her original incarnation. She was clearly seen as dangerous 20 years ago, resulting in the determined attack by Abbott and his operatives in having her declared corrupt by equally corrupt means, dismissed from the People’s House, jailed and effectively excised from public influence. Hanson will have learned much from that experience, and won’t allow herself to fall victim to such chicanery again. If anything, Abbott has educated her, laying the groundwork for this comeback. This is the so-called Democracy we are presented with every 3 years. Don’t kid yourself, dear reader. Unless you’re a part of the game, you will always be a part of crowd looking on and that’s how Democracy works. Democracy doesn’t serve the people, the people jump to the demands of Democracy.
So, how should we handle Pauline Hanson, her political weapon we call ‘One Nation’, and indeed, all other isolationist, ultra-conservative mindsets, opinions and ideals? Very, very simply. Give them a platform to air their views, then take those views, analyse them and rebut them with facts, logic and reason. It is those three elements which are entirely missing from the thought processes of the ultra-conservative. Fact, Logic and Reasoning. I can easily refute ALL of the One Nation policy statements through the use of facts, logic and reasoning. Only by drawing these ardent opponents of progress into the harsh light of examination and interrogation can we hope to dispel the fear they openly foster among what I somewhat demeaningly call, ‘the gullibles’. Those people who are not engaged in the political process, take little or no interest in the activities of the supposedly elected representatives to whose tunes we are all expected to dance. By doing so, we are taking back the democratic process from those who would keep it for their own selfish and bigoted purposes. Like time, we must move forward, we cannot go back and must not allow our political process to stymie likewise.