Pauline Hanson’s One Nation wins four Australian Senate seats

The One Nation party – headed by Australia’s best known anti-immigration activist Pauline Hanson – won four Senate seats at the Australian federal elections on July 2nd.  Full results have only recently been published – a month after polling day – due to Australia’s complicated voting system. One Nation polled 4.3% nationwide, and 9.2% in Queensland where they are the third largest party.

In addition to Mrs Hanson herself, One Nation’s new senators are her fellow Queenslander Malcolm Roberts (best known for his climate change scepticism); former lecturer and architectural design consultant Brian Burston, elected in New South Wales with 4.1%; and ex-farmer Rod Culleton in Western Australia, where One Nation polled 4.0%.

Mrs Hanson first achieved political prominence in 1996 when she was elected to a House seat, despite having been ‘disendorsed’ by the Liberal Party before the election, following controversial comments about the level of state assistance for Aborigines.  She lost her House seat in 1998 and her One Nation party collapsed in acrimonious personal/factional divisions during the early 2000s. Predictably new disputes over party finances have erupted even before the new senators have taken their seats.

In recent years Australian voters have become increasingly concerned about immigration and related issues: in the absence of a credible alternative (and helped by recent changes in electoral law) Mrs Hanson has been able to stage a comeback, despite her limitations. The most credible anti-immigration Australian politician was Graeme Campbell, a House member from 1980 to 1998 who was expelled from the Labor Party for his stance on racial matters, but Campbell is now aged 77 and semi-retired.

Alongside One Nation, a new party called Australian Liberty Alliance fought this year’s elections.  The ALA is almost exclusively focused on opposition to Islam, and had the Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders addressing its inaugural rally last October.  However its results were insignificant compared to One Nation, with 1.1% in its best state – Western Australia – and tiny fractions of 1% elsewhere, including 0.6% in New South Wales, despite having a celebrity candidate, veteran rock singer Angry Anderson.

Similarly celebrity status did not help Queensland independent candidate Kim Vuga, who polled less than 0.1% for the Senate after her anti-immigration campaign was overshadowed by Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.

The launch of Australian Liberty Alliance in October 2015, with Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders (second left)

The launch of Australian Liberty Alliance in October 2015, with Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders (second left)

Jim Saleam, leader of the Australia First Party, polled 1.2% in Lindsay, a House seat in the outer Sydney suburbs.  This was up 0.5% on the last election, but below the 2.4% polled by the new ALA.  In another Sydney suburban seat, McMahon, the AFP’s Victor Waterson polled 2.0%.

Preferences cast by One Nation voters generally helped Labor candidates against Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s ruling coalition, a phenomenon analysed in a post-election article in The Australian.

Turnbull’s government seems likely to survive with a wafer-thin majority, but his authority has been severely weakened: a development which many Australian patriots will welcome!  Sadly the patriotic cause in Australia remains weakened by poor leadership, with the only substantial alternatives being the shallow and opportunistic Hanson, the anti-British (though in other respects ideologically stronger) Saleam, and the Islam-obsessed ALA.

Meanwhile the Australian version of the EDL – Reclaim Australia – has been targeted by anti-terrorist police, who arrested several leading activists in the Melbourne area.

 

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