Pauline Hanson’s speech to the House of Representatives in 1996 has been the subject of much media attention and academic discussion.
Her views have been defended and despised by people on opposite sides of a highly controversial argument. Pauline Hanson’s maiden speech made more than a decade ago; however, her speech has contributed to the increased discussion of many topics, from multiculturalism and globalization, to immigration, racism and patriotism.
A Closer Look at the Infamous Maiden Speech
When Pauline Hanson first stepped into the House of Representatives, few were prepared for the words of her provocative maiden speech. From the start, Pauline attempted to distinguish herself as an independent candidate, with life experiences that were not akin to those of mainstream politicians.
Moving away from the concept of the ‘polished politician’, Pauline Hanson referred to herself as a woman who had endured through difficult situations. She described her political views as those being based experiences and insights gained as a single mother of four children and a successful self made businesswoman.
Addressing the Accusations of Racism and Arguing Against Multiculturalism
After setting herself apart from the average politician, Pauline Hanson then set about addressing the accusations of racism that had erupted following comments made by her to ‘The Queensland Times’.
The remark she made questioned the fairness of the state provided support given to non native Australians, in particular the assistance received by Aborigines. She made it clear that she felt that native Australians were not entitled to a similar level support.
Acknowledging the impact her previous remarks had made and countering the claims of racism, Pauline Hanson then expanded on this point of view, stating that she felt ‘mainstream’ Australians were the subjects of reverse racism; a politically correct ideal being pursued and promoted by the very powers that controlled the ‘industries’ that supported services for Aboriginals and other ethnic groups.
Pauline Hanson pressed on with this argument, claiming that the government at the time had, while trying to create a multicultural society, those in power had in fact created a society of segregation and separatism. She outlined policies and state associated bodies that had failed to preserve professionalism, equality and fairness for all.
Indications of Unhappiness on Australia’s Immigration Policies
One of the most controversial topics covered in Pauline Hanson’s speech was immigration. Pauline described a shared discomfort of the government’s approach to immigration and multiculturalism.
Pauline was able to eloquently challenge the lack of input from the people on the decisions made by government on immigration; pointing out that although she was able to choose who was welcomed into her home, she had no say on who was welcomed into her country.
Although Pauline may have lacked the education other politicians may have gained, she certainly had a passion in her posed questions and statements, and a poignancy that her rivals often lacked.
On this issue, she felt that she spoke on behalf of not just herself, but for 90% of Australians.
Addressing Other Australian Issues
Pauline Hanson covered other major issues in her maiden speech, including family breakdown and the Family Law Act, child benefit, youth unemployment, international debt and the privatisation of national enterprises.
Following the speech, Australians had mixed feelings and thoughts on Pauline Hanson’s views. Her speech quickly became the topic of much discussion; from the average worker to the academic, everyone had an opinion on Pauline’s perspectives.
The mainstream political parties, however, had an altogether different perspective; with members of parliament coming together to form a resolution condemning her point of view, leaving little room for debate on the immigration policies.