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Alt-wrong: The Australian right is startling for its incoherence

Richard Cooke writes in The Monthly (6.4.17) about the divisive, belligerent and seemingly incoherent character of the extreme right-wing of Australian politics.

‘Say what you like about Satan, but he does at least give a fair price for souls. Faust got 24 years of worldly knowledge and pleasure in exchange for his; Robert Johnson mastered the blues overnight. Pauline Hanson was not so generous with the Liberal Party in Western Australia. The Liberals traded their integrity for One Nation preferences at the state election last month, and were rewarded with a pasting of historic proportions.

‘The result was an electoral keelhauling that saw Labor win 41 seats, the Liberals’ semi-estranged coalition partner the Nationals stabilise, and One Nation crawl to 4.9% of the vote. It was supposed to be the new dawn of an Australian Le Pen – when the Liberals sold themselves out, polling showed One Nation threatening 13% of the primary vote – and instead finished with Pauline Hanson’s One Nation (PHON) on par with Fluoride Free WA as an electoral force.

‘… Hanson positions herself as a champion of free speech while arguing that her anti-Muslim stance is really a defence of the liberal Judeo-Christian secular tradition, or whichever word-salad version of that historical conceit she has chosen for the day. “Islam does not believe in democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of the press or freedom or [sic] assembly,” the party’s website states. Yet her political hero is Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, who turned Queensland into one of the most illiberal putatively democratic regions not just in Australia but in the world, with the acquiescence and often enthusiastic support of the state’s citizens.’

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