Not the hero we want, but perhaps the one we need. Maybe. The Masked Lib returns to point out that the Coalition favouring One Nation is the right move for balance and avoiding our own Trump.
As I stand at rooftop’s edge, cape flattering my growing love handles, I look down upon the frenetic, confused streets of yours and I see one unifying fear: the rise of the uber-Right, and with it, a Pauline Prime Ministership.
Peh, meh, ba-humbug. We may chortle, dismiss it with the label of never, but that is short-sighted, and frankly ignorant. I vote we follow the teachings of schplendid linguist Sean Connery on this; we should never say never again.
Yesterday, it was announced that the Coalition will thumb its nose to the Howard-era theme of putting One Nation last when one stumbles into the voting capsule, and it would be fair to say that everyone misplaced their faecal matter in response. This was probably not aided by the man who delivered the line, the Joker of the Left’s Most Wanted deck of cards, Arthur Sinodinos, who told the press that “(One Nation) is a very different beast to what it was twenty years ago. They have clearly resonated with a lot of people. Our job is to treat them as any other party.”
Sinodinos, for his comment that One Nation has become more sophisticated, is, for want of a more effective superlative, is absolutely correct – and to say otherwise, that One Nation haven’t grown, would be to fail the lessons of recent history. Yes, there is talk of disbanding the UN, punching-on with NASA and even a Royal Commission into Islam, but One Nation also want to shine a light on the inner workings of political entitlement, with the meta-goal of revamping the Australian working class at the cost of the establishment.
This whole cookie-cutter cartoon caricature of good/bad/right/wrong/black/white is what is going to run us into The Trumples.
Now, if that sounds suspiciously akin to the trope flogged by the current POTUS, well done you. Much like every other trend that starts in America, we’re twelve months behind it. This usually ends up with us latching onto any US fad when it is well beyond cool, but in this instance, it’s a David of a Boon. To explain: the primary mistake the US made was not in voting in Trump, but rather ignoring him. From the primaries all the way through election day, the majority of the media, and indeed the voting public, dug fingers into collective ears, offering little else than snide comments and memes made in jest, which of course wound the path to what we see today.
Australia walks a similar path.
Media agencies and meme lords alike are chortling at comments, adjusting rhetoric and painting One Nation into the naughty corner. Their policies are an issue, but not the issue; we have to accept that people hold these views. The problem with opinions is that everyone has one. And the problem with democracy is that everyone needs to be heard. Closing your blinds to the angry mob does not make them go away.
For example: last week, Pauline Hanson spoke in adoration for Vladimir Putin, casting aside MH17 as something that every government has done, stating “You are picking out . Do you think that everything that our prime ministers have done has been in the best interests?”
This is both wrong and right. Australians were killed when the Russian rocket was launched at MH17. However, one cannot write off a leader on one instance, unless he himself fired the rocket which brought down the jetliner. One Nation MP Malcolm Roberts echoed Hanson’s pro-Putinism, adding that the IMF “crippled” Russia in the late 1980s and the early 1990s, thus by “standing up to them, is showing that he protects his people.” This is also right, and also wrong. Putin did wrestle Russia back from the economic shock therapy enabled by Yeltsin and the IMF, but, again, there is the pro-Russian element that felled MH17.
This whole cookie-cutter cartoon caricature of good/bad/right/wrong/black/white is what is going to run us into The Trumples. The automatic silencing of a view you don’t believe in because you believe it will do nothing but bring the Tangerine Dream to Kirribilli House. You could argue that the crux of the issue is balance. You could view the Coalition siding its preferences to One Nation as similar to the ALP doing the same with the Greens.
The solution is simple: just let them eat at the adult table. Let them be part of the grown-up discussion. Let us quash the exclusionists with some naked inclusion. Yes, we might not like it, and may never will, but we need to understand that the traditional One Nation pizza, with its base of racism, is still something that a lot of people order. With the Senate in a murky, ankle-high pool of confusion, where one can’t see one’s own feet, one must tread carefully. If we truly yearn to avoid seeing lady democracy bedridden from the virus that ripped through the American system, then let’s not ignore the symptoms.