The Game All Over Again: Pauline Hanson's Return To Politics: Much Ado About Everything
Dr. Jim Saleam
June 5 2007
Pauline Hanson has formally returned to politics. As the 'United Australia Party', she seeks election to the Senate from Queensland.
We could say that the lady can do as she pleases (she will anyway). Yet, there are two basic questions that nationalist-minded people should ponder, to settle what attitude we should take towards her.
(a) Is her return is in the interest of the movements of Australian patriotism and nationalism, those forces that struggle against the path of globalisation?
(b) Will the Australian people gain anything from a new Hansonism.?
Is the name of the new party itself a subtle psychological clue as to what to expect? After all, 'United Australia Party' was the previous name of the Liberal Party! Let's see.
Last time around for the followers of Hansonism, there was disappointment, defeat, division. Why now any different? Pauline encouraged their hopes and crashed them back to earth, revealing there was no strategy, no tactics. She offered the illusion of a popular leader "saying what people thought", which leads nowhere without a plan. Other than running candidates all over the place, there was not much else. She hired and fired within her party without reason. She alienated people with talent.
We are beyond considering Pauline a people's tribune and far removed from having sympathy for the wrong of imprisonment heaped upon her. It is now time to be cold and hard.
I am told that when Italian magistrates investigate crime, they ask two simple questions: who pays? who benefits? These questions might now be asked of Pauline Hanson.
The Hanson campaign is graced with cash and has received extensive publicity across Australia. She will have no trouble finding 500 members so as to register a party. Doors are open for a dream run. She may not make it to the Senate, but she will savage the chances of anyone else with a decent programme.
But disturbing must be the last several months of behind the scenes activities, crafted to smash up, dissolve or frustrate her original party trading as 'Pauline Hanson's One Nation' and beyond that - to nobble other parties or movements of nationalism and patriotism. Surely, this bodes badly for any who believe that Pauline Hanson is the way forward. It seems she is wrecking
upon any force that might compete with her. And who really benefits from that?
Pauline's new party
The new United Australia Party is to be a 'party' like few others. It will have no branches. Its president (Pauline) is to be its 'registered officer' under the Australian Electoral Act. It shall serve as a support mechanism for candidates 'chosen' by Pauline. We are yet to see whether its president is president for life! We could say that this party might enjoy a two-elections-life (or even longer?), splitting votes against patriotic people, misleading the public with non-solutions, but for now we go too far forward.
The immediate aim is to elect Pauline to the Senate. To do this requires organization and it requires money.
One of her organizers is Brian Burston, formerly of One Nation New South Wales (ONNSW), the State party originally founded by David Oldfield (who may or may not have enjoyed the pleasures of Pauline). Very recently, it was Burston who deregistered ONNSW.
If the people who had joined ONNSW ever considered carrying it on, or even better merging it with the Federal PHON, they were disappointed. Little Burston jumped straight in and dissolved it. Now we might understand the fruitless year of negotiations between the two parties as being one big string-along. It seems to be always the case that the players in ONNSW were awaiting Pauline's call.
So one pro Australian structure was obliterated. Where next?
Pauline gets thuggish with One Nation
One would expect that Pauline Hanson would have treated her previous supporters with deference. Quite the contrary. Inside sources say that over the last few months Pauline has telephoned certain PHON officials. She has been harassing, bludgeoning and otherwise unpleasant.
Pauline demanded two things. She demanded that One Nation cease calling itself 'Pauline Hanson's One Nation' and thereby return to her the legal use of her name, such that her new party could actually bear her name for her current electoral advantage. She also demanded by way of a seeming suggestion-cum-request that One Nation dissolve itself.
The thing about her name can be partly understood, since if she wishes to run for the Senate and operate a party. However, asking that the One Nation party dissolve itself, suggests a very different agenda.
One would imagine if Pauline Hanson was looking for support, she would treat these people differently and call them to her. It seems that she doesn't really want their support at all, unless it's on the basis of some odd surrender to her dynamic personality. To stand over people is the last thing that someone would do in rallying an organization.
But Pauline isn't silly. The long process of divorce between the party that bears her name and the human being under that name, has thrown up significant issues of ideology and politics. In the Federal election of 2004, she ran for the Senate, competing against the One Nation party and with her vote of over four per cent achieved public funding - and denied funding to ex-Senator Len Harris who came in just a tiny fraction of a per cent below the mark . Did Pauline know what she was doing? Of course, she did. And she deceived One Nation as to whether she was even a candidate until the very last moment, when it seems radio commentator Alan Jones persuaded her to run. Why the deception? Was it because Len Harris had become an informed activist against globalisation in all its forms and not merely the verbaliser of a few worthless homey phrases about people "hurting" under the new economic regime? Was it because Pauline wanted to get Harris out of the Senate? She could even have offered to run on the One Nation ticket and it seems Harris was willing to give her the 'top spot', denying himself re-election, but helping her. Yet, she ran her own game. Pauline offered no programme of any substance and near-bankrupted a decent man who financed his own campaign.
The latest affair is just a matter of carrying on with a long standing pattern of activity. She wrecked Queensland One Nation in 2004. Now she moves on.
The members of One Nation feel rather betrayed by Pauline Hanson. This was a person who could never make up her mind whether she was in politics, out of politics, was a dress designer, a dancer, a sex symbol, a T.V. star or a real estate agent. Many members of One Nation openly say that Pauline Hanson was ego-driven and unreliable. Some say that for all the support they gave her when she was falsely imprisoned in 2003, she repaid them with disinterest. All that seems valid. Psychologically, one might say that her request to dissolve One Nation was an attempt to bury the evidence of her lack of political savvy. As one senior member of One Nation said to me, "Why would anyone trust a person like that?"
It is understood that One Nation is now under pressure from a small faction within its ranks to go over to Pauline Hanson. The word is that the majority in fact, wish to move on - without her.
Ridding the scene of a party which can be at least understood as a pro-Australian one, is no small matter. It shows that the bottom line is for Pauline Hanson, that whatever benefits her, is justified. The flip side is that Pauline Hanson has hardened the ranks of nationalist-minded people inside One Nation, creating a bloc of good cadre who are sure to contribute to the development of Australian nationalism in the next few years.
The Liberal Party 'Right Wing' steps in to do a number on 'PHON'
Earlier this year, the Liberal Party also stepped in to try to rid the political scene of the 'Pauline Hanson's One Nation' (PHON) party. How strange! As Pauline plays her game, the Liberal Party moves in. As the great Arthur Conan Doyle once put it: if two remarkable things happen side by side, you can bet they're connected.
Inside sources have said that the task was allotted to no less than Mr. Alex Hawke, an assistant to David Clarke, Member of the Legislative Council in New South Wales and organizer of the 'right wing faction' of the party.
Secret meetings took place, including one at a Hornsby hotel. At this time, Liberal Party membership forms (with Mr. Hawke's prints all over them) were handed to a senior One Nation official. It had been put to One Nation in no uncertain terms that the party could safely wind up and its concerns would be more than accommodated by the Liberal Party - particularly by the Clarke faction.
But before wild liberal journalists, subscribers to Green Left Weekly and any other screamer, get involved to suggest the Liberal Party 'right' is itself some sort of radical plot, think again.
Sources say that Mr. Hawke presented himself in the usual 'conspiratorial' mode that we associate with the Clarke faction. The victim is invited to participate in a conspiracy to make the Liberal Party just like him. It is held out that the recruiter is just like him, knows others in the party just like him, and that sooner or later if the faction dictators are obeyed, the victim's views will come to the fore. This is of course the ultimate con job. The fact of the matter is that there is certainly a conspiracy in operation, but it is really one to recruit useful idiots to the faction's purpose. More so, it is a means by which new political elements can be neutralized inside a party that will never accommodate the victim's views - and the recruiter knows it.
Indeed, the con job has gone on for a long time. In the days when the faction was a 'good anti-communist group', it put out the idea that their people were really steering the Liberal Party in a right-wing course against moral and political subversion. The faction also said that it was in favour of immigration restriction. All people had to do was trust the Liberal Party as the plotters rose through the ranks. One old-time nationalist reported in 1982 that he finally realized how the con worked, when he listened to a speech from the now-thankfully-deceased honcho of the faction, Lyenko Urbanchich, who stood frothing that the official Liberal Party was a bit too liberal, but he would change it - and in his heavy Slovenian accent roared, "Vee arz zee Liberahhl Party". Our friend realized just how right that was. It was claptrap. He was talking to just another face of the same old structure.
It seems Mr. Hawke in his former capacity as a youth organizer for David Clarke, also made contact a few years ago with the Patriotic Youth League, the body of university youth friendly to Australia First. At a meeting at the Loewenbrau Keller in Sydney, one of his reps invited them to join the 'extreme right-wing David Clarke', informing them also that they even had an ex-SS officer in the ranks. Needless to say these youth were not particularly impressed over octogenarian Nazis, but it seems this was merely a reference to a war-time collaborationist journalist, Lyenko Urbanchich. Most likely, the Liberal recruiter, wondering whether media smear of these youth which said they were "neo-nazis", thought it could be true. So he put out a feeler. Zero was the response, so he stuck to the offer that these youth would rise quickly in the Young Liberals. They declined.
So at least we can understand that Mr. Hawke was a polished act and is bound to go far in the Liberal Party, because he is the Liberal Party. Therefore of late when Mr. Hawke, a parliamentary aspirant himself, spoke to One Nation, he was not speaking as any member of a friendly conspiracy. Quite the contrary, he was speaking for the Liberal hierarchs.
For when this faction was reconstituted in August 1996, one month before Pauline Hanson made her maiden speech in parliament, it was Tony Abbott (the man who later engineered her to gaol), who sat in the front row of the meeting. The faction was revived in order to discipline the Liberal Party, keep all those who might be lured out of the party by Hansonian rhetoric to stay within it, to eventually nobble any independent role assumed by Hanson and lead the Liberal flock back home.
Sources say that One Nation did not fall for Mr. Hawke's approaches and connected up the dots to Pauline Hanson's new moves to rid the scene of their party . We should accept Conan Doyle's logic that the two things were linked. We should accept the obvious: that the Liberal party is now very happy for Pauline to represent (sic) the nationalist aspirations of Australians, because she can be fully trusted to lead the votes and the movement into the Liberal embrace!
The Liberal Party cooking pot
As hard as it may be for the many hundreds of sincere people in One Nation to accept - and for voters and other people who put their faith in it to appreciate - it is time to confront a question that has hung over the party from the start.
It is time to ask what has been the relationship between One Nation and the Liberal Party. Pauline Hanson was a Liberal. David Oldfield came out of Tony Abbott's office. Many of the core members had long-standing relationships with the Liberal Party. This does not mean that the Liberal Party designed One Nation, but it does mean that it was stewed in the Liberal Party's cooking pot. John Howard recognized that there was discontent in the ranks of the Coalition parties over the extent to which multicultural policy should be pursued, about Aboriginal policy, border protection and how globalization was impacting upon their clientele, particularly in the bush. When the party emerged, it was a type of strategic godsend.
John Howard's genius was to allow One Nation to run. It would exhaust many, hit brick walls and ultimately, when it was time, he would extend the Liberal Party's 'right wing' and draw it all the way back in.
Of course, it wasn't that simple and for a while One Nation assumed an independent function and could have undergone what the political-scientists call 'a deeper radicalisation'. Just as that might have happened, Hanson jumped ship.
Senior officials of One Nation have said in the last year that the final danger for their party was to become just another satellite of the Liberal Party, like Family First, like the Christian Democrats - like the Democratic Labor Party was long ago. It seems, that faced with the failure of drawing One Nation into the new Liberal Party orbit in a crucial election year, the hard question must be: is this the job Pauline Hanson is effectively now doing?
Politics is a dirty business. The same people who threw Pauline Hanson in gaol are just as likely to throw her a bone. But even if she doesn't make it to the Senate, the political damage may be done. Many ordinary Queenslanders might genuinely consider her worth a vote, not knowing that she has played the role of a safety valve for popular discontent. They can take her rhetoric about "Moslems" or "African refugees" as nationalism. She can talk about "soulless politicians" or her victim status - and get sympathy. Best of all (sic) she can achieve public funding for her party, sustain it and herself, for years. At over two dollars a vote, it's a lot of cash. And I note this is precisely what a number of One Nation members regard as a primary motive!
Whoever is providing Pauline Hanson with her funds and her access to media has an idea in mind. It is also clear that it is only the Coalition parties which can benefit from Pauline Hanson's candidacy. So indeed it is a matter of who pays and who benefits??
No Australian patriot and no ordinary Australian battler should have any illusions about Pauline Hanson. She is best forgotten as an option and fought to the end as an obstacle to the forging of a great movement and party that will deliver to Australia its Identity, Independence and Freedom.