This article explains why Hansonism could rise from a minority status to a majority status – with Turnbull’s help.
It is time for Australians to decide what Patriotism means. Patriotism has become strongly embedded in the political psyche. It is time to determine who defines Patriotism. The politicians or us?
Political populism is a strategy used by politicians to appeal to the masses. Politicians do this by targeting a common fear to appeal to the masses and unite them behind the leader.
Populist politicians use this to unite the lower class and the elites through shared fears. These fears are usually quietly contained fears not openly spoken about, and it is the job of the populist politician to draw these fears to the surface. This transforms the quietly contained fear into openly expressed raw emotion.
This is the point when the Populist Politician holds all the Aces.
The reason Asylum Seekers and Muslims are used as targets within the rhetoric, is the fear of anything foreign is a natural psychological reaction. The beauty that politicians see in this strategy is that it brings together all classes – elite and poor, to unite over a common fear.
This explains why the rejection of foreigners/Muslims is more important amongst Hansonites than jobs, education, health and welfare.
To demonstrate, I will cut and paste a comment I received the other day about Pauline Hanson’s support for cuts to welfare:
I am not amused by some comments on here obviously i am a Pauline supporter and for one sick and tired of being called a racist because of my concerns for our country ..welfare cuts .. so be it ..better than paying thousands to a muslim man with a few wives and heaps of kids which they will keep on having to get the muslim numbers up in Australia (Forum User)
Forum User is expressing that he is happy with six billion dollars of welfare cuts because it is more important to prevent a Muslim man who has (in forum-user’s mind) a few wives and kids, accessing welfare; than it is to be angry at the Government for placing the disadvantaged into deeper poverty.
Forum User views his stance as patriotic, as Pauline Hanson reinforces this message.
When this misunderstood form of Patriotism, championed by populist politicians feeds into harming everyday Australians and pushing minorities down even further; who should define Patriotism? The Politicians or Us?
(Note: – the racist comment was generalised, no one had called him a racist on that forum)
The success of this can be explained because there is a deep-seated need within humans psychologically to belong. Social Identity Theory describes this as in-group and out-group behaviour and is the biggest underpinning factor for the ‘Them versus Us’ attitude.
The populist politician uses the symbolic interactionism of words “Illegal immigrants” and symbols “multiple Australian flags” to draw the quiet and unexplained harboured fear to the surface, turn them into raw emotion and to set apart the groups.
This has negative consequences on democracy for the reason it pushes minority groups down further and further until they may be regarded as non-human altogether. Individuals within these shunned groups are classified in the minds of the masses as ‘other’ with an irrevocable spoiled identity.
This is where the fallacy of the Patriotic Approach enters the debate. To remain vigilant and to protect the ‘In-Group’ anything outside of the ingrained beliefs or threatens the In-Group is deemed ‘unpatriotic.’
The debate by Liberal politicians for years now (strongly commencing with John Howard) has been built on Argumentum ad Populum. That is, appealing to the emotions of the multitude, rather than drawing on authentic leadership to build a strong argument.
Argumentum ad Populum cuts across two underlying constructs – Pathos – the use of language to appeal to emotions. Usually emotions which are harboured and need to be drawn to the surface.
For example, using the term ‘Illegal immigrant’ instead of ‘refugee’ or ‘asylum seeker’ implies that there is a criminal aspect attached to that person. Criminals are people we are generally afraid of.
The Pathos used to discredit and create the outgroup, are the terms unpatriotic and ‘lefties.’ This places anyone considered to have a social conscience (aka a left-wing individual) as unpatriotic. The politician reinforces this divide.
— Pauline Hanson (@PaulineHansonOz) October 30, 2016
This use of this language legitimises the harboured fear and draws it to the surface as it creates the common enemy – unpatriotic lefties.
The other construct is the Argumentum Ad Hominem – or the personal attack.
The use of Pathos by populist politicians reinforcing over and over that their believers are Patriots, strengthens this belief. This also is an antecedent to enable the use of Argumentum Ad Hominem as it used to protect the In-Group from the mendacious traitors within the Out-Group who cannot be believed because they are unpatriotic.
Anyone who sides with the ‘Targets’ (Asylum Seekers or Muslims) is labelled unpatriotic and is in the ‘Out-Group’ and shunned along with the targets.
When the Prime Minister announced that, “No asylum seekers who tried to come to Australia by boat, even those found to be refugees, can ever enter the country“, many reeled in shock and horror.
However, One Nation Party Leader, Pauline Hanson rejoiced; proudly proclaiming on Twitter the Prime Minister was following her lead.
— Pauline Hanson (@PaulineHansonOz) October 30, 2016
Many are reeling in horror, as they see this as a complete disconnect from the politician Turnbull has portrayed himself to be for many years.
Along with others, I came to the conclusion that Turnbull had morphed into Abbott and has now morphed into Pauline Hanson. I referred to this as watching a bad Dr. Who regeneration. However, upon reflection I along with others, was very, very wrong.
Turnbull is not morphing into Abbott or Hanson. He is channelling John Howard.
John Howard is the most prolific popoulist politician of our time. He pushed political populism to a new level. With the threat of Hanson’s movement in the early 2000’s becoming prominent this became a threat to the Howard Government.
Political populism seeks to fill a gap and motivate people to believe they have real agency to ‘beat the system.’ Third party populist politicans are successful when the gap is perceived to have widened between the promises of the Government to provide security and quality of life and their (failing) practical solutions.
When a third party populists instill in believers that they can beat the system; this means their target is the Government. This is now a direct threat to the Turnbull Government.
Although Hanson is smiling and cheering as if she is the alternative-Prime Minister; she is foolish if she is smiling now.
When the threat of a populist third party is a threat to the Government, the Government needs to become the system which embraces those who aim to defeat it.
John Howard’s success in defeating Hanson was to incorporate her demands into his policies.
In response, (to the threat of Hanson) John Howard recast policies on Aboriginal affairs, multiculturalism, immigration, social welfare and Australian nationalism to match more closely those advocated by Hanson (Wear, 2008)
When the Hansonites in the early 2000’s set out to destroy the ‘system,’ Howard’s response was to become the system that was accommodating and embracing, so that system was no longer deemed a threat.
Turnbull is channelling Howard by adopting Hanson’s policies to transform the system of Government into one that is no longer a threat to the growing movement of Hansonites.
This will require a very ugly Prime Minister who will lead a very ugly Government.
In addition, Howard wedged the opposition on populist policies. Author Thomas Keneally famously nicknamed John Howard “The Wedge-Meister.”
Howard wedged the opposition on issues such as Freedom of Speech (Turnbull tick!), Border Protection (Turnbull tick!) and the need for Muslim immigrants to assimilate (Turnbull tick!)
Howard used ‘Australian values’ to ‘wedge’ Labor in an attempt to draw major support to his leadership. Essentially, Howard was trying to wedge Labor as ‘unpatriotic and a member of the ‘Out-Group.’
It is very clear why Turnbull has ramped up the rhetoric with “No Asylum seekers who come by boat will ever come to Australia in their lifetime” and has openly challenged Labor to support the bill. Turnbull is not only channelling Howard by adopting One Nation’s policies, but also vying for the title of “Wedge-Meister.”
If Labor do not support this bill, Turnbull will paint Shorten as ‘unpatriotic, unAustralian, a threat to our borders and security and a threat to Australia.’ It will be the biggest attempt to shove the Labor opposition leader in the “unpatriotic out-group” we have seen to date. Turnbull will then have free reign to dismiss Shorten using the Patriotic Approach discussed above (non-patriots cannot be believed because they are not patriots).
The challenge for leadership from the opposition to break this, is this type of successful political populist behaviour results in a very strengthened and cohesive cognitive culture amongst the group of faithful believers. If the Government keeps adopting Hanson’s policies and becomes the system that is no longer a threat and gains popularity; this creates a major dilemma for how the Labor opposition responds to this.
Although this could mean Turnbull may be remembered as Australia’s most hateful and divisive Prime Minister; what matters now is Shorten has a huge responsibility to respond effectively. He will need to challenge every nationalist policy Turnbull adopts of Hanson’s and he will need to be shrewd when combatting wedge politics.
True leaders would not turn to populist mechanisms to stoke, stir up and inflame that natural fear. They would use honest, open and authentic leadership to allay these fears.
For Australia to combat nationalism, as the Labor leader, Shorten needs to be an absolute stand out Authentic Leader. It will be Shorten’s challenge to find the gap in the ‘newly transformed Turnbull Government’. He will need to advocate strongly on the one thing that the Hanson/Christensen/Turnbull Government fails to deliver on, that will give the masses agency, security, salvation and hope.
There is a challenge also to us as a people. A very serious challenge.
If populist policians are defining patriotism, as something one stands for, even if it it means harming our nation through divisive, destructive and stigmatising policies and rhetoric; who should define Patriotism? The politicians or Us?
Our challenge is to redefine Patriotism. Patriotism for Australians should always be underpinned by ‘The Fair Go.’ We need to stand up strongly together and reject anything that does not align with the Fair Go and shout this down as unpatriotic behaviour.
It is time we redefined Patriotism and took back our country.
This is the first part in a series where I will discuss how the One Nation Party leaders promote their party compared to who they really are. I will pose the question that if you voted for them, is this who you really are? This article will discuss Patriotism versus Nationalism and the ABCC. The piece of legislation that sent us to a double dissolution election.
For those who voted for the Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party; I do not believe that all of you truly share the values of this Party. I would propose that if many Hanson voters really looked at what has occurred so far in only 100 days, and listened to the content of the various Senator’s maiden speeches; they would realise that ‘that does not sound like me at all’ and reconsider their vote next time.
I ask you, if you voted for One Nation, please consider the discussion below and answer these questions:
Did you vote for the One Nation Party because you believe in Patriotism? Did you vote for One Nation, because you strongly believe we need to be very respectful to our flag and our Nation? I expect many of you did. I also would believe that many people when they think about protecting our rights and our freedom get quite emotional about our fallen soldiers, returned heroes and our veterans.
Many of us have an uncle, a father, a brother a son or a grandfather who has fought in a war and some have family and friends who are still there. Many of us today have an aunt, a mother, a sister or a daughter who have served and in the armed forces today.
Without those who fought for our freedom, where would we be today? That is a rather scary thought, isn’t it?
As a Laborist, I also get quite emotional about the men and women who have fought for our work rights. I topped my Industrial Relations class at University with a very proud 99.5%, if I can take a self-serving moment to brag. This was not just because I was studious. It was because I was absolutely consumed with the fight for work rights and how important it is. How it goes to the very reason we get up in the morning. How important standing together and solidarity are to achieving justice and fairness.
We work to live, not live to work. Our industrial relations history is the blood, sweat and tears and the backbone of Australia. It is the backbone of the fair go.
These brave unionised workers were jailed, beaten and killed and many families, including children went without food; just so we could have decent work rights today.
This struggle is still not over. Our country’s fine men and women are out there every single day fighting for safety at work and for decent pay and conditions. The fight is endless. Yet Hanson, along with the LNP call these unionised workers thugs. You decide if the men and women in the videos posted below are thugs.
As at 7 October, 129 Australian workers have been killed at work in 2016. I refuse to accept that number ever. The only acceptable number is zero.
I know if you do describe yourself as a patriot; there is no way in the world you would stand for companies cutting costs on safety for their own greed if it means people die at work. If that means they never ever come home to their families, including their kids. I know even though you voted for Hanson, I believe most of you would stand on the side of safety of the worker. Unfortunately, your vote brought four politicians to the Senate who do not stand with the worker.
If Hanson is a Patriot, her party would NOT support the Australian Building and Construction Commission.
Why? Because good and decent Australians do not accept a secret star chamber. This is where there is an accident at work and your apprentice son or your brother or your worker husband, wife, friend or family member is hauled in for questioning and does not have the same legal rights as everyone else.
This could be you or even your children. Workers and apprentices are not allowed to have you as a parent in there as a support person or even have their lawyer by their side. In fact, if they even talk about what happened in the interview, a worker can be fined and jailed. They are intimidated and scared into saying what the others want them to say.
How the hell is that Australian and Patriotic? It is far from it.
Here are two clips about the ABCC. One is the real experience of a former apprentice and the other is a more lengthy video detailing the experiences of many others.
Video 1 – ABCC Interrogation full version
Video 2 – Constructing Fear – ABCC an attack on all workers
In the first video you can see the blatant unfairness of the secret star chamber that workers are exposed to. This is taking away the civil rights of workers. For those who stood against Newman’s Bikie Laws in QLD, this is the same thing. These people too lost their civil rights under this law. I stood with them and I also stand with the worker. Do you? As a Hanson voter you are voting to say you don’t.
In the second video, you can really see the emotional toll the ABCC has on workers, even on really strong men. Hanson cannot appeal to your emotions on male depression and suicide on one hand and then support a piece of legislation that sees men break down and families break up.
In short – Pauline Hanson has fed you utter bullshit and if you voted for her, you should call her out on it.
Supporting a legislation that does these things to workers, is not Patriotism.
There is nothing more important to me than protecting the rights or the worker, the safety of the worker and protecting those who cannot work. It goes to the very heart of who we are as people.
Regardless of who you respect, armed servicemen or unionists and the workers who have built this great country. When we reflect and think of them and everything they have allowed us to have; it is quite an emotional experience. We feel a sense of pride. It is a collective pride, everyone standing together side by side, regardless of race, colour or creed. I share that with you. That is Patriotism. One Nation is not patriotism. One Nation are Nationalists. It is even right there in their name.
The One Nation Party are not Patriots. They are Nationalists. I know many of you do not trust politicians. Pauline Hanson is no different. Why do you automatically give her that trust? She should deliver what you the voter really believe in and what she sold you, not what she actually believes in. This is what you should challenge her and her party on. She only promotes her party as Patriots because she knows it connects with your emotions.
For minor parties who never will Govern and have the Prime Minister as leader of their party and never need to make the tough decisions, this is their main strategy. These parties will appeal to you on certain issues and they will target your emotions. Even if you think these types of parties are not ‘political’ like the major parties, that is not true.
They are in politics because they are political. That is why Pauline Hanson pretends they are Patriots, when they are indeed Nationalists. She does this because she needs your vote for her own power. As ugly as this fact is for ALL parties, they do need your vote. Other parties will stand broadly for what they stand for: Labor – The Worker, The Liberals: Conservatism, The Greens: Environmentalism. However, The One Nation party leads people to believe that other parties don’t really show what they stand for and One Nation is different. Well, yes they are; but not in the way they portray themselves as in a ‘different good’. They actually promote their party as the opposite to who they are. Although Nationalism and Patriotism share a love for country, they are polar opposites in all other respects.
In the section on Patriotism above; I spoke about being proud of your country for people doing great things, that makes the country what it is today. I spoke about the collective effort and burden shared amongst us and how important it is that we stand together. Patriotism is about togetherness and peace. Nationalism is not. Nationalism is about ‘us and them’ and resentment.
This is where I believe the problem lies for many people taking offence when other people call them racist because they supported Pauline Hanson. When these people do treat other people fairly and.are not inherently racist. It is the disconnect between feeling you are a patriot but following and promoting nationalism, is why others may confuse you as racist. It is because you are misrepresenting yourself. It is like being very pro-union but voting for the Liberal Party and speaking highly of them. It misrepresents who you are.
Patriotism is built on peace. Nationalism is built on rejecting those we don’t want to share our peace with. It is about choosing who belongs and who doesn’t. Why should Pauline Hanson decide who belongs and who doesn’t? She is asking you to stand with her and take away all the wonderful things that make up a person and just judge them by one thing – they race, colour or religion. That is not patriotism. But she told you it was. She lied.
The problem is because regardless of the emotional attachment people may have to their vote, it can be hard to accept, that a non-racist person did vote for a racist party. The One Nation party is racist. They are a racist party and they are an intolerant party. Every speech so far has separated out different groups of people by race or religion. They speak about different laws for people who are not Christian, when Australia is a secular nation. It is racist and intolerant because it is Nationalist. What happens when you, your loved ones or friends are the targets of this type of intolerance?
The difference between Nationalism and Patriotism is race and national identity are very important to Nationalism, but not Patriotism. Patriotism is about loving your country regardless of who makes up that country.
Nationalism is explained as this:
Nationalism means to give more importance to unity by way of a cultural background, including language and heritage. Patriotism pertains to the love for a nation, with more emphasis on values and beliefs.
In short, Nationalism does not believe that everyone is equal or deserves equality. Where as a Patriot does.
Patriots respect their country in a peaceful way, where as Nationalists are militant and aggressive and angry about protecting their country and have it remain as the ideal they believe that country should be. What happens when you, or a loved one does not fit that ideal? You become the ‘them’ in ‘us and them.’ That is not patriotism, but nationalism.
Nationalist believe that their ‘race’ is more superior than any other attribute and this is what defines the greatness of a country. Whereas Patriotism is about peace and togetherness; regardless of race. Pauline Hanson will state openly that she is not racist. However, her speech and the speeches of her Senators completely contradict this fact. This is now proven, every day of the 100 days since the election.
Patriotism is about believing your country is great and believing we can work together to improve it. Nationalists already believe their country is the best and nothing should change at all costs. Nationalists believe that foreigners are a danger to the ideal country, where as a patriot embraces the values of a peaceful co-existence and aims to prosper together. The One Nation Senator calling for a “Patriots” TV Channel – is another blatant misrepresentation of who they are.
One Nation will say anything to have you believe they are patriots, the same as the Liberals will try to make out they care about people.
With regards to the ABCC legislation discussed above; a Patriot would stand up for their workmate regardless of who they are or where they have come from or where their parents or grandparents have come from and regardless of what religion or sexual orientation or gender they are. To a patriot safety is everyone’s responsibility. Your safety is their safety.
A Nationalist, would seek to place blame on anyone who was not in the defined bubble of ‘what they see as Australian.’ They would believe only the worker who they considered an ‘Australian’ has a right to safety at work. A nationalist would see the harm of a worker who is defined as ‘non-Australian’ as justified.
A nationalist would push you to believe there was something about the foreigner that was a danger to your safety at work. We see this in many examples of the One National party member’s rhetoric. For example, calling for a ban on Muslims when we do have Muslims living peacefully in our communities and they cause no harm. In fact, they are business owners and workers, doctors and nurses, construction workers and cleaners. They are students and graduates. They share our dreams because they are not ‘they,’ they are us. They are our friends and our neighbours. There is absolutely no reason to separate out one group, and request a separate law for that group, other than racism, or bigotry
There is absolutely no evidence that Muslims break the law any more than any other sector of society. Yet, a law is not requested for any other group, because no other group incites fear simply due to the fact that radical Muslims are also terrorists. Hanson promotes the terrorism, but she never promotes the fact that the majority of victims of ISIS are Muslims.
The important thing for Nationalists is to prevent anyone who does not fit the ‘ideal’ to be excluded and treated differently. This is the evidence from One Nation so far.
This is not patriotism.
Nationalism places the superiority of national identity and race above all else, even if the consequences are harmful.
By One Nation Party promoting their party as Patriots and not Nationalists, if you are a patriot, what you believed you voted for; is not what you got in return.
George Orwell explained Nationalism very well:
By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’.
I do not believe that the majority of One Nation voters automatically segregate people into good or bad, through class, race or creed. However, this is the essential value, which drives the One Nation Party platform and it is evident every time Hanson or her Senators speak. All I ask is that you really listen and make your own judgements and challenge what they are really saying. Ask yourself, “would I be comfortable if this was said about me?”.
I will finish with a quote from Sudhanva D Shetty of the Huffington Post:
Love for one’s country is imperative and necessary, but if this love becomes more important than Constitutional values or democratic ideals, it is misplaced.
If you voted for Hanson, because you are a Patriot. Your vote has been misplaced.
Stand up, listen and speak up to the One Nation party and hold them to account for everything you believe you voted for, but didn’t get. Do not treat them with kid gloves. Place the same expectations on them as you do other parties. They are not victims. They are politicians.
If you truly believe in patriotism, challenge and re-think your own support for One Nation’s Nationalism, as this is the opposite of who you really are.
For One Nation Voters…..
The Reclaim Australia Movement is conducting a rally in my home town of Rockhampton and Pauline Hanson will be the guest speaker at the event.
In our local newspaper (The Rockhampton Morning Bulletin) and local groups on Facebook, there has been commentary regarding this event. Reclaim Australia purport that it is not a racist event, but inclusive of everyone.
Bro Michael Ireland of the Church of Creativity (founded by white supremacist leader Ben Klassen) has now established a local chapter in the Rockhampton community. The Church of Creativity is a white supremacist movement, which has a doctrine built on the notion of “nature.” That is God created white people and white people essentially need to take charge of the earth or else it will spiral towards a path of destruction. (No links in my blog to this rubbish – sorry).
To put into perspective where this white supremacist church has established itself; I will detail the population demographics of Rockhampton.
Rockhampton is a town in Central Queensland, and sits on the Tropic of Capricorn. The traditional owners of the land in Rockhampton are the Darumbal People. The Aboriginal Township of Woorabinda is 170 km west of Rockhampton. There are 6.5% of people who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander in Rockhampton, which is higher than the state average of 5%. In addition, 12.5% of Australia’s South Sea Islander people live in Rockhampton and although the dominant population ancestry groups are Australian, English and Irish; Rockhampton has a growing trend of Indian, Filipino, South African and Vietnamese people (Profile.Id, 2013 & Dept of Communities, 2014).
Bro. Michael Ireland had this letter published today (15/07/2015) in the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin in defense of Pauline Hanson. I have published my response below, which has been submitted for consideration as a Letter to the Editor.
Perhaps Bro Michael Ireland (LTE 15/07/2015) should rename himself “the wolf in sheep’s clothing.” It is very misleading to the public when an individual uses the title of “Bro”, indicating he is using the title to speak on behalf of a religious faith.
Bro Michael Ireland does indeed belong to a Church. The Church of Creativity, Rockhampton. Some of his opinion pieces have appeared on the Church of Creativity Website. He starts opinion pieces with, “Racial greetings to my fellow White brothers and sisters.” He urges people to obtain a copy of the true bible for the white race – The White Man’s Bible. In other opinion pieces, he refers to Christian People as “Christ-Insanes.” This certainly speaks to the hypocrisy of the use of the title ‘Bro’, which is normally understood within society as relating to a Christian faith.
Perhaps when Bro Michael says that Pauline Hanson is misunderstood; he does not recognise that Ms. Hanson’s version of equality is in fact inequality. When he calls into question homeless shelters for Indigenous homeless youth, and blames the Government’s investment in Indigenous programs as ‘guilt over colonization’; he does not stop to consider that there are considerably more barriers to achieving equality for Indigenous people than there are for those of non-Indigenous backgrounds. He does not recognise that when it comes to working towards equality, not everyone starts from the same starting point.
I am not an Indigenous woman, but I am a local woman and I feel great pride when Darumbal Elders such as Wade Mann give the Welcome to Country at events. It fills me with an overwhelming feeling of pride for the area I live in; a feeling of awe at the beauty of the land and animals described and an intrigue and excitement of stories I was never taught at school and I look to Uncle Wade with respect as an Elder and a leader in our community.
When Bro. Ireland’s doctrine states, “We believe that without the white race any worthwhile culture and civilization are impossible” He does not recognise how other cultures can enrich us and teach us and how we can learn respect for customs and traditions. Multiculturalism helps us to stop being insular and selfish and gives us the gift of inclusiveness.
When people promote Ms. Hanson today, they do so on the platform of creating a ‘non-Muslim’ Australia. They seem to forget that Ms. Hanson has ridden on the back of negativity and fear mongering of Asians and Aboriginal people. Ms. Hanson’s 1996 Maiden speech to Parliament warned Australians of the damage that Aboriginal people and Asians do to our society. Now that the fear and hatred has turned to Muslims, she is milking that cow until it is dry. It would be a safe bet that if people started to be scared of the Irish, Ms. Hanson would jump on that bandwagon to serve her own pockets. Ms. Hanson is the Jimmy Swaggart of the Nationalist set.
The growth of the Patriots and White Supremacist movements can be summed up in the words of Aboriginal Elder and former Chairman of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, Patrick Dodson
“In a climate of uncertainty and fear, without strong and visionary leadership, people panic.”