It was no surprise that the ABC would try to stack the debate against Pauline Hanson on the Q&A program tonite but I thought she coped with the deliberate targeting well. It was a shameless attempt to make her look like a total idiot. 20 years ago that may have been warranted given the flimsy facts she often bandied about. Objectively I thought she handled herself well and she was far more read up than in the past. However it seems to me many media outlets remain prejudiced by the Pauline of two decades ago. She has realized her short comings. I think her votes in this recent election reflect that.
Host Tony Jones took every opportunity to discredit her view of recent terror attacks being conducted by radicalized Muslims by pointing out Croation Christian terrorism in Australia in the 1970s. The Croatian Six terror plot foiling in 1979 was driven by Yugoslavian state intelligence trying to blacken the Aussie Croat refugees as extremists. No terror event ever happened.
I thought Hanson got more moments of applause from the audience than many thought even on economic matters including waist tightening by politicians to lead by example.
Most of the questions were asked by Muslims. The first questioners blamed the rally outside the studio as inciting hatred against Muslims to which Hanson correctly pointed out they were protesting against her. A Cronulla based Muslim couple dragged in the “11yo son argument” and tried to blame Hanson for creating nothing but division even claims that Aussies call them”Muslim pigs” was due to people like her. I detest the way the ABC often drags in kids to “shame” free speech.
Only when a Muslim psychologist sensibly (and seemingly genuinely) invited her to discuss potential differences she hesitated. She would have been better to have agreed straight up. It begs the question why the ABC didn’t bother to have white Australians explain their concerns with the Muslim community. Perhaps that might have given the chance to balance out the debate but we’re dealing with the ABC so bias is in the blood.
Labor’s Sam Dastyari did nothing more than mock her all night. On election night he made the smart-arsed “Halal snack pack” jibe and followed up again tonight suggesting she was reconsidering but she slapped him down hard and the fact he didn’t answer leaves questions of whether he practices it. He kept on banging on about her “hate” preaching moving from indigenous, Asian and now Muslim issues which he was correct. Hanson wants to talk of how to integrate into Aussie society. It seems she needs to deal with her explanation of this as many hark back to 20 years ago.
The Green’s Larissa Waters did her usual condescending “thank you for that excellent question” as she does on every Q&A. She just espoused that diversity would fix everything. 500,000 Australians don’t think so by voting for Hanson’s One Nation Party which could end up taking up to 7 seats including one from the Green’s Sarah Hanson-Young. Once again Waters pushed the typical climate change agenda saying Hanson is effectively alone in her thoughts failing to recognize new UK PM Theresa May will abolish the climate change quango.
LNP’s Simon Birmingham espoused little more than politically correct replies. No real value added to be had.
Nick Xenophon was largely along for the ride.
I’m not a One Nation supporter but after tonight’s performance Hanson came out pretty well despite the obvious set up. I’ve made the case often that a collective effort to remove prejudice can only come when the Muslim community do more to work with the broader community to weed out radicalism. Hanson correctly pointed out that the Grand Mufti in Australia made no condemnation of the Nice attack. I’m sure the majority of Muslims are against radicalism because they don’t want to be treated with suspicion.
We must not underestimate the extent of her success in the election. She’s exposed voter concerns that politicians can’t dismiss and to date haven’t addressed. Hanson is a voice for those disaffected. We can call them racists or bigots til the cows come home but they voted. This problem isn’t going away.