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Australian politics has been remodelled. Hansonists are no longer outliers

Jason Wilson comments in The Guardian (18.2.17) on the ‘normalisation’ of One Nation’s place in Australian politics, underlined by Liberal Party preference deals with Pauline Hanson’s formerly ‘maverick’ party.

‘Starting with Arthur Sinodinos, a lot of noises have been made in the last week about how One Nation is more sophisticated now, how the party has changed, and how it wouldn’t be so bad if the WA Liberals exchanged preferences in the upcoming state election.

‘This is rubbish. Pauline Hanson hasn’t altered a bit. Her views haven’t softened at all since the 1990s – she has even developed new enthusiasms for Islamophobia and climate change denial. And her party is stuffed full of the same sorts of fringe-dwellers, bigots, and opportunists that she has always attracted.

‘True, the precise targets of her scapegoating rhetoric have changed. Whereas once she was all about “the Aboriginal industry” and feared being “swamped” by Asian immigration, now she’s all about banning burqas and halal foods and placing Mosques under surveillance – she’s promised an inquiry to determine whether Islam is “a religion or a totalitarian ideology”.

‘She still wants zero net immigration to Australia, and her other policies are the same patchwork of reactionary grievance porn that she pushed twenty years ago. Fathers’ rights, citizen-initiated referenda, the rollback of gun laws … these aren’t just old-timey One Nation obsessions. They’re all long-time staples of Australia’s populist far right, especially in Queensland.’

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