On the back of the 1996 Federal election, and after a monumental maiden speech delivered to the House of Representatives, Pauline Hanson had been all but shunned by the mainstream political parties and it’s members.
The Launch of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation
Twelve months after taking her seat as an independent, Pauline Hanson launched a new political party, One Nation. The party was founded in 1997 by Pauline, her senior advisor David Oldfield, and David Ettridge, a professional fundraiser.
To begin with, support for One Nation was small in comparison to other parties; however, supporters were incredibly loyal to the cause, attending many of the meetings One Nation held across Australia.
One Nation’s stance against multiculturalism was once again perceived by some as a racist agenda, and many of the meetings incurred the wrath of protestors; often leading to heated clashes between Hanson supporters and protesters; often keeping the One Party in the media spotlight for all of the wrong reasons.
The Growing Concerns of Australians and the Development of One Nation
It seems as the concerns of Australians grew, so too did the numbers of supporters for the One Nation party. In June 1998, Pauline Hanson look set to take on the mainstream parties, after securing 11 out of the 89 seats available for the Queensland Legislative Assembly.
During this period of increased popularity a number of new parties emerged, based on platforms that were anti elitist, much like One Nation; however, no party seemed quite as based on the populist platform as Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.
Australia First began gaining support in Newcastle and Sydney, and was just one of the many parties to be established during the rise of One Nation. Others included the United Australia Party, the Australian Reform Party, The Australians and Tasmania First.
It seemed Pauline Hanson’s remarks had give way to a political phenomenon; slowly but surely citizens across Australia were speaking up and sharing their concerns; albeit through a number of different parties.
The Collapse of Support
After a successful start, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation began to struggle to retain support. This was blamed on a number of different reasons, including poor media presentation, poor policy choices, a lack of party unity, poor directorship and the redirecting of preferential votes.
Once the party itself started to lose support, Pauline Hanson found it more and more difficult to keep her seat. Despite running and sometimes winning elections, she would be unable to secure a second seat in parliament.
Following a narrow miss at a seat in the 2001 elections, Pauline Hanson blamed declining popularity for her own cause on the Prime Minister John Howard; claiming that his own political success had been based on his policies, policies she felt were based on her own views and ideas.
However, controversy surrounding the party funding, legal action and investigations and disagreements with the other party leaders left Pauline Hanson with no choice but to abandon the very party she had created.
In August 2003, Pauline Hanson and David Etteridge were both convicted of electoral fraud involving the Pauline Hanson One Nation Party. Each received a total of 9 year imprisonment for three charges. While he mainstream parties tried to take the firm hand, others fought back for Pauline Hanson, claiming she was a political prisoner.
Less than three months after the sentence was given and Pauline Hanson began her sentence, the Queensland Court of Appeal quashed all of charges against her and Etteridge, and both were immediately released from prison.
Pauline Hanson did not return to the One Nation party, and for a while, it seemed that she had no intention to return to politics at all. However, Pauline has made a comeback, re-launching her political motives under a new party, Pauline’s United Australia Party.