Pauline Hanson to become a migrant

February 21, 2010

When the anti-immigration politician Pauline Hanson was asked if she was a xenophobe in a 1996 interview on Sixty Minutes, she famously responded: "please explain". Now, with the news that she intends to become an immigrant herself, it seems she doesn't understand the word "hypocrite" either.

The former One Nation leader told Woman's Day that she intended to move from Australia to Britain.

Nick Griffin, leader of the ultra-right British National Party, also campaigns against immigration. But he told the February 17 Sydney Morning Herald he makes an exception in Hanson's case.

"She would not be a sponger. We would regard her as a good addition … as [Britain's] most recent immigrant, she will be very welcome if she wants to join and become involved", he said.

In her 1996 maiden speech to federal parliament, Hanson attacked Asian immigration. She said: "I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Asians … They have their own culture and religion, form ghettos and do not assimilate."

She also denied Aboriginal people were disadvantaged in Australia. Rather, she repeatedly attacked the so-called, "privileges Aboriginals enjoy over other Australians".

One Nation's racism did not go unanswered. Anti-racist campaigners protested outside many of her public meetings. In 1998, the socialist youth organisation Resistance called high school walkouts against Hanson that mobilised thousands of anti-racist students.

The protest movement helped weaken public support for One Nation. But it was not the only cause of One Nation's demise as a force in Australian politics. The other reason is that some of the vilest One Nation policies were taken up by the Liberal and Labor parties.

Hanson called for the abolition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, but it was the Howard Coalition government that did the job.

Hanson sought to take away the limited land rights won by Aboriginal people, something the current ALP government is doing today with the Northern Territory intervention.

Hanson was the first politician to call on the Australian government to divert boats of asylum seekers to other countries — now a bipartisan position of the ALP and Liberals alike.

So while Pauline Hanson may be leaving Australia, unfortunately, some of her racist ideas stay behind as current government policy.

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