If Australians hadn’t heard of Pauline Hanson after her comments made to ‘The Queensland Times’, they certainly started taking an interest after she delivered her address to the House of Representatives in September 1996.
The Response from the Australian Population
The remarks Pauline Hanson made during her maiden speech launched her to the forefront of political media attention; gaining the focus of the entire Australian population. At the time, Australians were divided on the views that Hanson had provided in her address to the House of Representatives.
Some considered Pauline Hanson an honest person; a plain spoken promoter of populist perspectives. They considered her to be a fighter for the average Australian. Others, however, considered her an overzealous patriotic nativist.
Some critics went as far as claiming that Pauline Hanson was an uneducated racist; a term she had been branded before, following her comments made to the Ipswich newspaper.
The Response from Australian Political Parties
The remarks invoked an incredible reaction from the mainstream political parties. Members of parliament passed a resolution condemning her views, particularly those on immigration and multiculturalism.
All but one of the members supported this resolution; Graeme Campbell was the sole member who did not support the resolution made against Pauline Hanson, and Campbell was not alone in his support and understanding of Pauline Hanson’s views.
Despite the turning of political backs on Hanson’s campaign, John Howard, the Prime Minister at the time, refused to censure Pauline Hanson or the views she expressed. He did not speak critically of her; instead, he acknowledged that her views were shared by a portion of the Australian population.
Reviews of Pauline Hanson’s Views
Since the speech and several TV appearances, Pauline Hanson has continued with her political career; a career that has continued to be highly controversial and widely covered by the media.
While Pauline Hanson was busy creating political parties and policies and battling off charges of racism, academics began evaluating the remarks made in her infamous speech to the House of Representatives, and debated as to whether or not she could be branded as a racist.
- A paper discussing the very question was presented at the 1997 annual ANZCA (Australian and New Zealand Communications Association) conference. Keith Suter argued in 1998 that Pauline Hanson’s views could be better understood when viewed as an angry challenge to globalisation.
- In 2000, the book ‘Race, Colour and Identity in Australia and New Zealand’, published by the University of NSW identified Pauline Hanson as a key player in the debate on racism raging through Australia during the 1990’s. It noted that a number of Australian academics including Jon Stratton and Andrew Jackbowicz had explored the implications of Pauline Hanson’s views in an international as well as national context.
Pauline Hanson’s Impact on Politics
Without doubt, Pauline Hanson has had a significant impact on Australia’s political debate. She has raised serious questions relating to the impact of multiculturalism, high import figures and immigration to Australia’s native population.
Pauline Hanson has continued an active career in politics, and she has stood as a candidate for a number of elections between 2000 and 2010. Her most recent run for election has been in March 2011 for the seat in the New South Wales Upper House. She expressed interest in running as a liberal candidate, but instead entered the election as an independent candidate.