Pauline Hanson is a perfect mascot for Australian politicians in this racist state.- By Ramesh Fernandez (ex-detainee and refugee)
The 2016 federal election has brought in xenophobic and Islamophobic politicians and politics in Australia including the return of extremist groups like Pauline Hanson’s One Nation political party to the Senate. Pauline Hanson entered politics in the mid nineties on an anti-Aboriginal and anti-Asian platform. Since this time she has been given near celebrity status, with a podium to stand on to air racist anti-refugee policies that equate refugees with “terrorists”.
When I heard Pauline Hanson was re-elected, I was not surprised. Anyone who is up-to-date with the current anti-refugee and anti-Muslim propaganda in Australia and around the globe, know that there is no time like the present for people like Pauline Hanson. It is a time that has accumulated all the ‘fears’/lies Australian politicians have spread through the public over many election campaigns.
Pauline Hanson is targeting all people of colour, with particular emphasis on Indigenous peoples, Refugees, Muslims and Asians. In the lead up to the 2016 election Pauline Hanson was paid by Australia’s most watched breakfast TV news program to provide “expert” commentary on topics such as “terrorism and border security”.Basically, her xenophobic politics is nothing new and does not stop with her. Pauline Hanson wants to protect Australia from “Asians” and she refers to “Suburbs that are swamped by Asians”.
According to Pauline Hanson’s anti refugee policy she has recommended a list of “solutions” and what is remarkable here is that she is too racist to even realise that her “one nation solutions” are part of the current refugee policy. The current politicians have contributed to even more extremist, right wing racism towards refugees via immigration policies.
Her party “One nation” wants to reduce the number of Muslim refugees coming to Australia, limit family reunion, introduce temporary protection visas and re-assess refugee claims, character checks, welfare cuts and involuntary deportation. All these ‘interventions’ are part of the current refugee law, which was introduced by both Labor and Liberal governments.
Pauline Hanson wants to remove Australia as a signatory of the UN refugee convention, which Kevin Rudd tried to negotiate in 2013. In her maiden speech in 1996, regarding immigration, she clearly states that “if I can invite whom I want into my home, then I should have the right to have a say in who comes into my country”. In 2001 during the federal election John Howard shared her sentiments: “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come”.
There is no difference between One Nation sentiments and those of Australia’s Labor and Liberal governments. After the Paris attack Pauline Hanson said “Not every Muslim is a terrorist, but every terrorist is a Muslim, Can’t we see that these refugees may be cells that have been brought out, who have been planted (by) ISIS to become refugees, who will end up in Australia, on Australian soil”. Her comment had some backlash but a few weeks later Immigration Minister Peter Dutton linked refugees to terrorists. Dutton said “we want to make sure that we know who’s coming to this country – we’ve seen what’s happened in Istanbul and in Brussels and in Paris”. Both Hanson and Dutton have publicly said that refugees are stealing Australian jobs.
Australia is a one nation country on stolen land and it is dangerously ignorant not to acknowledge this fact. This is truly seen in the treatment & targeting of Indigenous peoples in this country both through policy and action by white Australia. An obvious second example is the fact that mostly people coming to Australia on boats to seek asylum are indefinitely tortured and sexually abused in detention centres.
Australian politicians benefit from people like Pauline Hanson; her overt racism and anti-Muslim sentiments provide a norm for their own racist sentiments. Politicians such as Tony Abbott, Peter Dutton, John Howard, Scott Morrison, Chris Bowen, Malcolm Turnbull, Kevin Rudd, Amanda Vanstone, Philip Ruddock and Julia Gillard have similar anti-refugee and anti-muslim stances. Pauline Hanson’s caricature can be mocked to make the aforementioned politicians appear ‘smarter’ or ‘more ‘trustworthy’ however they share the same ultimate white Australia dream to keep this country for white people.
We are aware that there is nothing original in Pauline Hanson. Pauline Hanson has been used to open more pathways and platforms for mainstream politicians to use xenophobia to win elections over the years. She has been chanting “Stop the Boats” for over a decade with successive Australian prime ministers joining her chorus. Racism towards refugees and asylum seekers has always been an election winner. These anti-Refugee and anti-Muslim fear mongering sentiments come in different forms from different white politicians because Australia is the foundation for racist immigration policies. Australia’s legacy is that other countries use Australia as the prime model to introduce racist anti-immigration policies.
Australian politicians want Pauline Hanson to exist; she is a perfect mascot for Australian politicians in this racist state.