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The rise and rise of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.

Twenty years ago it was Asians who were soon to be flooding Australian streets. Today, it’s Muslims who will be enforcing Halal foods on unwary Australians. Muslims who will be introducing Sharia law to the country and forcing the women of Australia to be wearing Burkas. In the coming age painted by Pauline Hanson and her One Nation party Australia will either be a Caliphate or free of all Muslims. There is no room for middle ground when the rhetoric demands a sacrifice.

In opinion pieces across the country, the main takeaway from this week’s Newspoll results was the rise and rise of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation. According to the results, One Nation was polling at approximately 10%. This is a pretty dramatic increase in primary vote and surprising to those who view Hanson and her team as uneducated on most issues. The problem with that viewpoint, and it’s one Australia made in 2013 when it elected Tony Abbott as it’s Prime Minister, is it negates the fact that a large percentage of the country doesn’t bother to research or learn policy. They vote on personality, not policy.

I’ve written in here before about the difference between personality and policy and how the focus on personality is leading the country to the wall. As long as people vote for the ‘Prime Minister,’ and not the best policies to move Australia forward we run the risk of successive governments being run by the likes of Abbott or Turnbull, or Pauline Hanson.

The outcome of the US election emboldened those who would rather divide than unite. Donald Trump, a man who had trouble stringing together a coherent sentence through the campaign and who has proven to be more focused on punishing his enemies on Twitter since becoming President, used the same technique as Tony Abbott did in 2013. Short, sharp sound bytes. Three or four-word slogans. Keep it simple, ignore the facts and redesign the narrative around what you want to be known.

Hanson and her tribe of One Nationers do that well. Instead of hitting a wide variety of policy issues they concentrate on their own pet policy hates. But here’s the thing. I highly doubt anyone who votes for One Nation could answer the question ‘What are the top 5 policy areas you agree with One Nation on?’ I would bet, at most, people could name two or three. Muslims, Halal Certification and probably immigration.

The rest of One Nations policies are practically meaningless to Hanson. It’s those three that allow her to stoke the most fear, to generate hostility and bring onboard the One Nation gravy train the disaffected far-right voters of the Liberal Party. John Howard dismissed One Nation 20+ years ago, Turnbull & Co have welcomed them into the henhouse. If Turnbull is surprised Hanson’s One Nation is sucking away their far-right voters he’s less capable of being Prime Minister than the recent polls suggest.

A question for the One Nation supporters who read this; what is One Nation’s policy on Youth Employment? How about Housing availability for First Home Buyers? Tax and the economy, what would a One Nation party with power do to fix the economy?

In the current Parliament, how have One Nation been voting? Are they truly independent or to they appear to back the Liberal Government? Are they voting in support of their own policy agenda, or are they selling themselves out to vote with the Turnbull Government?

Like Tony Abbott and Donald Trump, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation is empty of policy understanding. The party offers empty rhetoric, fear, and confusion in its attempt to sway voters away from the major parties. Instead of the sound bytes, look to their policies. Take the time to research, to compare and contrast the policies. Take the time to learn how our political system works. Learn the difference between US style politics and Australian. It might surprise you.

Over the next few weeks, I will be preparing breakdowns of the major policy areas of Australian Labor, The Liberals, Nationals, Greens, and One Nation. The idea behind this to clearly examine each of the main policy areas, what they have in common, the main differences and whether or not the policies look long-term or are a band aid fix.

First up in this series will be an overview of Australian politics as a whole. I hope by the time the series is finished there will be a clearer understanding of the policies of the parties the media will be focusing on in the lead-up to the next election. It is important Australian’s take the time to know who they are voting, not their personalities as such, but their vision of the future of children, nieces, and nephews.

Is there a particular policy area you would like me to have a look at? Leave a comment below and let me know where you’d like me to start.

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