Malcolm Turnbull’s Cabinet Secretary Arthur Sinodinos has revealed how the Coalition plans to tackle the rise of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party.
Ms Hanson and her One Nation candidates won four seats in the Senate at the July 2016 election, ending her 20-year absence from parliament.
In the face of a rise of fringe figures like Ms Hanson in world politics, Senator Sinodinos told ABC’s Q&A program on Monday night his fellow MPs needed to quell One Nation’s re-emergence.
“What we’re doing in regional areas, including in Queensland during the campaign, we announced all these regional job packages,” he said.
“In areas where jobs are falling off, because mining is in a downturn, we’re trying to find ways to promote structural adjustment and make people more included in the growth that is going on.
“Ultimately, it comes down to bread and butter, and basics.”
Senator Sinodinos earlier explained that the current Coalition had to act in the same way former prime minister John Howard contained Ms Hanson’s influence in the late 1990s.
“They [One Nation voters] had particular issues [in regional areas] which had affected them,” he said.
“They had the PM [Mr Howard] go out there, do a town hall meeting, look them in the eye and show that ‘as your PM, I get what the problem is. I’ll do something about it’. We did.”
— ABC Q&A (@QandA) October 24, 2016
Writer and academic, Emeritus Professor Robert Manne, explained Ms Hanson’s rise as a reaction to a “cosmopolitan” type prime minister.
“Hanson rises because we’ve had a cosmopolitan PM in Paul Keating [in the 90s], in my view, and people didn’t like it,” Prof Manne said.
“Malcolm Turnbull [ran] a ludicrous campaign in my view … saying ‘what an exciting time we live in’. Another cosmopolitan PM, seeing the world from the point of view from the affluent inner city and professional class and business class.”
Australia slammed for immigration policy
Veteran American investigative journalist Christine Dolan gave a stinging critique on Australia’s policy of offshore detention on Nauru and Manus Island.
“I don’t care what politician is in power,” Ms Dolan said. “If a child is being abused, stand up and say something.
“Because if you don’t say something, this is about you, not the kids, OK? Not the policy. And the politicians playing ping pong with child abuse is outrageous.”
Even the conservative former editor-in-chief of The Australian, Chris Mitchell, considered the policy flawed.
“A lot of politicians privately – but never in an audience like this – will say they do know these people have to leave Manus Island and Nauru,” Mr Mitchell said.
“They know it. And no one will come out and say it because of everything that’s happened since Kevin Rudd changed the policy. That’s their private position.”