So Pauline Hanson is planning another go at politics. This time the problem isn’t Aborigines or Asians, it’s Africans and Muslims:
“We’re bringing in people from South Africa at the moment, there’s a huge amount coming into Australia, who have diseases, they’ve got AIDS,” Ms Hanson told AAP…..
But Ms Hanson said politicians had gone too far in affording rights to minority groups and she was angered at the loss of Australian traditions because of Muslims. “Our governments have bent over backwards to look after them (Muslims) and their needs, and regardless of what the Australian people think,” she said.
“You can’t have schools not sing Christmas carols because it upsets others, you can’t close swimming baths because Muslim women want to swim in private, that’s not Australian.”
Ms Hanson is not the only person dipping into their bag of prejudices. Christopher Scanlon, a co-editor of the radical left Arena Magazine, is taking the argument that Howard is the respectable face of Hansonism for another trip around the Fitzroy block.
If that sounds like an exaggeration, just note that the party that disowned her has now delivered on every single one of the substantive policies proposed in Hanson’s maiden speech.
Unfortnately for Scanlon’s argument this is an exaggeration, and a big one, as anyone who bothered to check Hanson’s maiden speech would realise. If Hanson stood for anything, it was reducing Asian immigration:
I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Asians. Between 1984 and 1995, 40 per cent of all migrants coming into this country were of Asian origin. They have their own culture and religion, form ghettos and do not assimilate. Of course, I will be called racist but, if I can invite whom I want into my home, then I should have the right to have a say in who comes into my country. A truly multicultural country can never be strong or united. The world is full of failed and tragic examples, ranging from Ireland to Bosnia to Africa and, closer to home, Papua New Guinea. America and Great Britain are currently paying the price.
But Asian immigration has been increased considerably under John Howard. Of course we don’t have racial criteria in our immigration policy, but by increasing the total intake that inevitably meant that more people of Asian background would qualify.
Hanson wanted the economic reform process stopped, and in particular singled out Telstra privatisation:
Now this government wants to sell Telstra, a company that made a $1.2 billion profit last year and will make a $2 billion profit this year. …. Anyone with business sense knows that you do not sell off your assets especially when they are making money. I may be only `a fish and chip shop lady’, but some of these economists need to get their heads out of the textbooks and get a job in the real world. I would not even let one of them handle my grocery shopping.
That’s a view she shared with the left, but the government ignored them both and finally got rid of its majority shareholding just recently, after many years of trying.
The left would also agree that:
If this government wants to be fair dinkum, then it must stop kowtowing to financial markets, international organisations, world bankers, investment companies and big business people.
And, last time I checked, the left thought that the government was in fact acting in the interests of big business, eg WorkChoices.
These are not the only Hanson policy suggestions that the government overlooked:
I call for the introduction of national service for a period of 12 months, compulsory for males and females upon finishing year 12 or reaching 18 years of age.
As far as I can tell, the government has only delivered on three of Hanson’s maiden speech demands. First, she said that unemployment was 8.6% and that this was a ‘crisis’. Unemployment is now down below 5%. She complained that people’s standard of living had dropped over the previous ten years. It clearly increased over the next ten. And she called for the abolition of ATSIC, which occurred more than eight years later.
Two of the three Hanson demands that Howard delivered on have been politically orthodox goals of both parties for decades, and no credible link can be made with Hanson. What about ATSIC? Here too, there are more obvious explanations, such as its very dubious leadership and its failure to improve indigenous welfare (though, alas, the same can be said of just about every policy ever tried in this area).
Far from Howard delivering on ‘every single one’ of Hanson’s substantive policies, he’s ignored most of them and only pursued goals that any government would have pursued, or at least any conservative government in the case of ATSIC (though Labor did support them). Scanlon’s intellectual methodology is all too similar to Hanson’s: ignore facts and use prejudices instead. But she has a better excuse. She is a fish and chip shop lady turned TV dancer. Somehow, Scanlon has scored himself an academic job.