November 10, 2003 | Peter

Pauline’s Politics

Right-wing populist parties have grown up all over the developed world, supposedly a response to the social and political upheaval generated by globalisation. However, although they usually embody anti-imigration and sometimes outright racist attitudes as well as many of the typical trappings of far right politics (pro-nationalism and militarism, authoritarian on social problems), they also express the inchoate frustration of the lower working class who are hard hit by globalisation. These people are not really right wing, because they are too poor and vulnerable, but they lack a champion.
One Nation shares some of these characteristics, complicated by the added issue of regional decay in this country, another problem exacerbated by globalisation.
Labor has never properly exploited its rural roots, and globalisation has stymied it because it closes down Labor’s traditional nation-building approach. Howard, on the other hand, as well as being in sync with the basic neo-liberal agenda behind globalisation, has effectively exploited the divisions generated by it.
But Hanson herself throws some different elements into the mix. First, there is the fickle media support. Second, there is the way Hanson represents explicit gender issues. Her willingness to play on her sexuality has clearly differentiated her from the usual political landscape, and the media love it. But it also constrains how materially right-wing she can become. Typical far right politics is overtly patriarchal.
All this, along with the possibility that Hanson has developed more of a social conscience in jail, makes me think it would be difficult for her to pick up her previous role as head of One Nation. She could reinvent herself politically, or she could take the easy road to mass media celebrity and fortune.

Posted by Peter at 12:47 pm | Comments Off on Pauline’s Politics |
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