Pete Evans needs a new career, and One Nation needs an electoral lifeline. Let’s consider the possibility of a political match made in reality star hell.
Pete Evans has been, to use the parlance of the times, “cancelled”. Or, to put it in more accurate terms, he has been “held very reasonably to account for promoting a meme in which the alt-right was encouraged to step up to actual Neo-Nazism, as represented by a caterpillar in a MAGA cap being counselled to “change” by a butterfly with the Black Sun emblem on its wings – you know, the symbol from which Hitler’s Schutzstaffel emblem was adapted”.
So far it’s cost him book deals and a gig on Channel 10’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here as well as chains returning their unsold stock en masse, because fascism is a bad look and also no-one seemingly had a problem with him giving out unqualified health advice like feeding babies a deadly diet of bone broth, not getting vaccinated, and staring directly into the sun. You know, things your gran would say were out-of-the-box stupid.
So Evans has now presumably got some time on his hands and some axes to grind. And given that he’s now a wronged white man who doesn’t understand science and believes himself privy to information we Sheeple are not, there’s a political party out there ready to embrace him and his exciting new pivot into overt racism.
So: what are the chances that Pauline Hanson’s One Nation are approaching him about running as a candidate at the next federal election?
I know this sounds like a joke, but it’s a serious question. And this cursed year seems perfect for such a powerhouse union.
We’re at a moment in history when dangerous conspiracy nonsense and anti-science sentiment is in the ascendent worldwide – heck, even the Prime Minister’s bestie was outed on Twitter as a Q-anon spouting kook after boasting about how receptive Scott Morrison was to the cause.
At the same time, One Nation’s future is looking distinctly shaky, especially after the drubbing it was handed in the recent Queensland election. The party’s heartland rejected it like a bad transplant, halving its primary vote and barely clinging to its single seat.
And PHON’s party’s fortunes in the rest of the country are even less promising. They run the gamut from “tepid” in NSW and WA to “non-existent” in the southern states. And aside from the party’s eponymous leader, the most charismatic person in their fold at the moment is former Labor leader, ex-Sky News talking head and human manifestation of the concept of toxic masculinity, Mark Latham.
So just imagine what they could achieve if instead of a wild-eyed, spittle-flecked bigot howling to the media about reverse racism they had the measured, media-savvy tones of a charming, kind-eyed bigot telling them that covid was a lie by Big Pharma and Bill Gates to force 5G on Pizzagate?
I sincerely hope this is a playful thought experiment rather than a terrifying look to the future, but the times are perfectly suited for a full-on conspiracy theory party to sweep into relevance. And One Nation is already streets ahead in denying science, believing in obviously wackjob crazytown lunacy, and having an outspokenly positive view of white supremacy.
Similarly, the bubbling anti-lockdown sentiment dovetails neatly with the suite of sanity-free magic spell legalese of the Sovereign Citizen movement of which PHON senator Malcolm Roberts is a proud member. Sorry: that should read “Malcolm-Ieuan: Roberts., the living soul, representing the corporate entity MALCOLM IEUAN ROBERTS”.
And Evans has even got the PHON nose for hucksterism, having been fined for peddling a fake magic health machine in the form of the BioCharger NG: essentially a lava lamp which, for a mere $15k, would help cure COVID-19 – presumably by removing potentially infected money.
I sincerely hope this is a playful thought experiment rather than a terrifying look to the future, but the times are perfectly suited for a full-on conspiracy theory party to sweep into relevance. And One Nation is already streets ahead in denying science, believing in obviously wackjob crazytown lunacy, and having an outspokenly positive view of white supremacy. You don’t move a motion that “it’s OK to be white” in the senate without having some pretty poisonous ideas about which people are valuable.
Admittedly, there are some stumbling blocks for Pete building a new career with Australia’s enduring political embarrassment. Parties named after individuals rarely have the long-term wellbeing of the brand as their primary concern, as everyone involved in politics and not named Clive Palmer, Nick Xenophon or Fraser Anning can attest, and thus for Hanson to enlist Evans would demand that she have a succession plan beyond sealing One Nation’s accounts, plane and James Ashby inside a pyramid with her after her death.
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And also, it’s hard to imagine Hanson willingly handing over the public face of the party to someone that isn’t her – especially since Latham is very obviously stalking her for the leadership when she finally explodes in a cloud of angry feathers.
Then again, Hanson evidently couldn’t be bothered campaigning in Queensland for the state election, so maybe she’s over this whole charade and is really to handball it to another reality star with connections with commercial television and a social media team who doesn’t understand spellcheck.
So right now it’s just a bleak joke. But let’s be honest: given the year so far, who would confidently rule it out?