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Assessing the Implications of Pauline Hanson's One Nation (1998): Executive Summary (Detailed Paper)
One Nation represents a grassroots backlash against perceived failures by Australia's 'elites' in dealing with economic and social change, and this has shaken the political system. This paper explores what caused this, and what could be done.
Pauline Hanson was elected to federal Parliament in 1996. Her maiden speech said that there were problems with Australia's multicultural, aboriginal and immigration policies, as well as with other economic and social policies.
2. Public Reaction
These views divided public opinion. A political party was founded in 1997, and achieved support from more than 20% of the electorate in the 1998 Queensland state election.
Published reactions to Ms Hanson, and her party have been reviewed. This suggests that:
Interested observers suggest that most support for Pauline Hanson's One Nation reflects frustration with a diverse range of problems, though whether it is justified is unclear.
3. One Nation Expresses Dissatisfaction with economic prospects
However One Nation's main support appears to come from those concerned with their economic predicament. There is a real basis for such concerns, for example:
These problems are worst in rural / regional areas because of their economic character, and have been compounded by other difficulties including: droughts; distorted international markets; weak commodity prices; complex native title arrangements; and cuts to various services and programs.
4. First Implication - Real Development of the Economy
It may be possible to significantly reduce the dissatisfaction One Nation represents by:
The Asian financial crisis seems likely to worsen current difficulties. The above proposals should reduce the risk that an economic slowdown may be needed (eg due to a current account deficit 'blow-out'). Such a slowdown would sharply increase unemployment.
5. Second Implication - Social Policy Suggestions
The following approach to social policy questions could be considered:
Effective communication amongst those in the community, business and government dealing with different aspects of these economic and social issues, appears to be required, and might be stimulated by the suggested Public Policy Commission.
6. Non-solutions to Expressed Dissatisfaction
Options which would not be constructive in dealing with current problems include:
One Nation reflects a protest about the outcomes of past attempts at economic and social change. In an economic sense, at least, such dissatisfaction seems justified because of the limited effectiveness of such attempts, and the adverse impacts of change on the position of many individuals and communities.
Developing capabilities to cope with the expected future environment should be the goal of any strategy. The difficulties which affected individuals and communities face shows clearly that adequate capabilities for economic prosperity have not been created.
But rather than considering what could be done to achieve better outcomes, mainstream analysts now seem focused on criticising One Nation. However the longer those who do not suffer the effects of change criticise those who do, while not effectively solving their underlying problems: the stronger the protest is likely to get; and the more Queensland's and Australia's commercial and governmental credibility will be eroded.
Some future options have been suggested above which might be more effective in building the capabilities that the disaffected require for economic prosperity, and thus also improving their ability to express policies likely to be to their advantage.
8 July, 1998
|Name Calling is Still Not a Sensible Way to Deal with One Nation||
Name Calling is Still Not a Sensible Way to Deal with One Nation - email sent 6/7/16
RE: Federal election 2016: Pauline Hanson mixes nostalgia with hate and dresses it as patriotism, Brisbane Times, 4/7/16
Your article unfortunately seemed to me to be as unhelpful as you accuse Pauline Hanson of being when she exhibits what you call ‘bigotry’ towards those she blames for disrupting her mythic view of Australia’s past.
When One Nation emerged in the 1990s it appeared to mainly comprise groups who had suffered serious disadvantage as a result of the inept policies that had been put in place to reform Australia’s economy (see Assessing the Implications of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation 1998). When the (One Nation) disadvantaged sought to scapegoat other disadvantaged groups for their problems (apparently because the scapegoats received benefits that were not available to them) they were called names (eg ‘racists’). This did not help. The ‘name-callers’ were as ignorant as Pauline Hanson of the policy ineptitude that had caused the problems in economically-marginal regions that the (One Nation) disadvantaged were experiencing. They did nothing to either: (a) help overcome those problems; or (b) help the (One Nation) disadvantaged understand what was actually going on. Moreover the fact is that there are issues affecting the ethnic groups that the (One Nation) disadvantaged scapegoated for their problems. Politically-correct name-calling (to avoid facing up to those complexities) merely allowed the whole problem to fester – as current political outcomes demonstrate.
Some comments on the inadequacy of ‘name-calling’ as a response to such complexities are in The Church of Political Correctness Threatens National Progress and Is Name Calling the Smartest Way to Deal with 'Hate Groups'?. Recently Hanson has reported called for a royal commission into Islam. However it is not helpful to dismiss such calls as merely a reflection of ‘bigotry’ because Islam does create a lot of problems for Muslims and in their relationships with non-Muslims (see Should Australia's Political Leaders be 'Marketing' Islam?). Hanson’s understanding of the issue is unsophisticated – but refusing to consider such issues at all, while calling those who even mention them names, is equally naďve. Likewise Donald Trump’s agenda in the US involves issues that really do need attention even though Trump himself does not seem to have an adequate understanding of them (see More on: Should Donald Duck?). As with the many issues where ‘political correctness’ blocks national progress in Australia, it is not helpful in the US to ‘play the (unsophisticated) man’ without actually addressing the issue.
Some suggestions in an Australian context about how it might be made easier to address the real underlying issues (rather than just ‘playing the (unsophisticated) man’) are in The Church of Political Correctness Threatens National Progress.