Hanson Rising: Against the Great Divide by Bruce Bennett
The Australian ruling elites are concerned that Pauline Hanson’s One Nation is on the rise: “Hanson on the Rise as Coalition Support Dives,” The Australian, February 6, 2017, p.1.
Coalition support is now 46 percent to Labor 54 percent in two-party preferred terms, which is the lowest level since Turnbull knocked out Abbott as Prime Minister.
There is increasing disillusion with the major parties by voters. And why not, with changes to the pension, Centrelink's debt recovery, refugees, take your pick from this house of horrors.
There has, the good news continues, been no rise in the fortunes of Bill Shorten or the Greens, but support for the independents and minor parties has hit 19 percent, and One Nation now has a national primary vote of 8 percent, reaching the starry levels that it had in 1998, a golden year for them. Hanson sent a shiver through the spines of those who have no spines, by speculating that one day, One Nation may be forming government!
That should not be dismissed as 28 percent of people in the latest Newspoll did not prefer either Turnbull or Shorten as prime minister.
An article by Louise Clegg, “Values Expose Divide” (The Weekend Australian, February 4-5, 2017, p. 20), is somewhat insightful about what is going on. She says that its all about values:
“It’s a case of fundamentally different values and priorities, driven in huge part by where people live, how they spend their time at work and at play. These are the things that drive our world-views. Whether in Britain, US or Australia, big slabs of the media, politics on both sides, academia, the professions and even big business, are now far removed from the world-views of ordinary people.
Those world-views have always been different, but they are even more so now.
If we are looking into a crystal ball, we need to understand what is driving the disruption. We know many who voted for Trump neither liked nor admired him. But it does not matter.
If not Trump, it would have been someone else – in time. But on this occasion, Trump won, not because it was him, but because he was up against Hillary Clinton, the most establishment-politician person to have ever run for president. At its simplest, Trump is the manifestation of the rejection by a lot of clear-thinking, common-sense people of “politics as usual.”
And Hillary was the embodiment of “politics as usual.”
The values and ideology of the elites – and she identifies with them (“our world views”) – is in conflict with that of the ordinary people:
“Identity, outrage and victim politics has been embraced by Labor and progressive Liberals in a big way. Many ordinary Australians think it is inappropriate (to say the least) that we are teaching kids in schools it is perfectly normal to think you might be a boy if you are a girl and vice versa, or that it’s perfectly standard to be sexually active with multiple partners in your early teens; they shake their heads when students and political cartoonists are taken to court for being racist; they scratch their heads when a prosecutor is investigated by a corruption body for allegedly suggesting how an acquaintance might avoid a breathalyser test – when avoiding breathalyser tests is what thousands of Australians do every day when they take an alternative route home. These things are nuts and totally at odds with the values of middle Australia.
The most defining difference between insiders and outsiders here and around the world is their attitudes towards their country. In the suburbs and regions in Australia, people are proud to be Australian; they love Australia Day and Anzac Day; they think all immigrants should be vetted, they don’t like immigrants on welfare, they think it is 100 per cent fair for immigrants to integrate – after all, that’s what many of them did and it’s what made modern Australia. These are the views of the mainstream around the Western world.
Yet big swaths of those who inhabit and control our institutions think these attitudes are base and embarrassing. They would not be seen dead waving a flag and they think the world’s problems can be solved by simply opening borders.
More than that – and this is where it really bites, many are comfortable with laws or norms that result in their values being imposed on their fellow citizens: via 18C, for example, or via immigrant ghettos in other peoples’ suburbs. They have no problem at all (when it suits them) curtailing the freedoms our founders assumed (freedom of speech, of the press, fair trial, property rights, religious freedom) in favour of their values. This is what is new and driving the increasing divergence.
The singular characteristic that propelled Trump was his willingness to take this on in a way that was unprecedented. That a politician from a mainstream party could simply respond to negative press from The New York Times with the hashtag #failingnewyorktimes was stunning. Of course, courage – that vital missing ingredient from “politics as usual” – was easy for Trump because he had nothing to lose.”
There is nothing new here which we have not said at this site or in our publications, but it is worthwhile having a mainstream journalist say it. This is particularly relevant given that Liberal senator Cory Bernardi has now quit the Liberals to form his own movement, the Australian Conservatives, to regain conservative voters who have abandoned the Liberals.
After all, under the uber-politically correct Malcolm Turnbull, the Liberals embraced much of the same agenda as Labor, such as same-sex marriage. Bernardi wants to provide an alternative to people voting for One Nation, but it will be interesting to see if he has really broken away from the Liberals and will challenge any major aspect of the immigration faith.
In this context it is interesting to note that in The Australian (February 7, 2017, p. 1), next to the front page story with the biased headline: “Bernardi Betrayal a Blow to PM” (how about “Bernardi to Restore True Conservatism”) is an article about a Newspoll which has on Trump’s ban on Muslims, 44 percent in favour, 45 percent opposed and 11 percent uncommitted for the policy applied to Australia. Newpoll found 52 percent of Liberal and National voters in favour of Australia copying Trump’s policy on the Muslim migration ban.
I hope you read that Cory.
The times they are a changing.
Sing it again, Bob, only this time, in tune.