Murri leader Sam Watson does not have a high opinion of Pauline Hanson's intellect or her lack of substantial policies. However he told Green Left Weekly that “she can't be ignored”.
“I was very pleased to see in the last few days when she went to appear on Q&A that there were comrades on the street to challenge her,” he said.
He was also pleased when First Nations activist Murrandoo Yanner ordered her out of the building at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair.
“She is evil and we need to confront that evil and challenge that evil.”
“We need to assure her that wherever she goes she will be confronted and challenged.”
At the same time we cannot let the mainstream racism of the Coalition and Labor go unchallenged.
Watson told GLW that the racism of the major parties is “a bit more subtle, but far more deadly”.
Neither of the major parties have any compelling vision for the nation, Watson said. “[Malcolm] Turnbull is a leader by default — they were desperate to roll Tony Abbott and he was the only credible candidate.”
“However he is not a prime minister.”
The defaults of the major parties mean that Hanson has used Islamophobia to tap into a “vein of insecurity”.
In a context where the mining boom has ended, the major parties are “devoid of any real substantial policies”.
Watson said “the problem is that Hanson doesn't offer anything constructive or substantial”. “We need to engage with ordinary Australians and address their concerns. Groups like Socialist Alliance play a positive role.”
“There are problems in the world and there are extremist groups causing acts of violence.” According to Watson, the answer is to create a positive way forward.
“We need to guarantee Australian workers and families good jobs and a reasonable standard of living.”
Watson favours increasing economic and social links with Asian economies to the north — not a Donald Trump-style wall of segregation. The latter, he said, is a pathway to more racism and more Hansonism.