The former Australian politician Pauline Hanson, ex-leader of the “One Nation Party”, is leaving Australia and migrating to the UK. This move by Hanson has been met with much controversy due to her strong anti-immigration views that launched her political career.
Her career began in the 1990’s and her maiden speech in parliament where she claimed the country was being “swamped by Asians”, is one of her most notorious. She constantly questioned the multiculturalism of Australian society. In her first political campaign she draped herself in the Australian flag to rally against immigration, a move that saw her successfully elected.
She is renowned for her views on Aboriginal welfare, once challenging anyone to ask her “how Aboriginals are disadvantaged when they can obtain housing loans non-aboriginals can’t”. However, it was these powerful views coupled with her self confessed inexperience of the political sphere that made her a popular voting choice. When asked in a television interview whether she was xenophobic, she replied “please explain”, something that won her admiration as a maverick of Australian politics.
More recently in 2007, however, she switched her target from Asian to Islam, calling for an end to Muslim immigrants to preserve “Australian culture” in her campaign to be elected into the senate. This was ultimately unsuccessful, along with several of her other political campaigns over the recent decade. This trend of failure came after her three-year prison sentence for electoral fraud, where it is believed she misspent the funds awarded to her by the electoral commission. Even though the conviction was eventually over turned, it has left a lasting mark with the Australian population.
Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party, is welcoming Hanson to the UK stating that she would not be a “sponger” and would be a “good addition” to the country. He has even gone so far as to suggest there may be a position for her within the BNP itself.
Yet some believe that her decision to leave Australia will be short lived. Bob Vinnicombe, a member of Hanson’s One Nation Party thinks “it is a passing fad” and that she will change her mind. Some Australian citizens are pleased to see her go, commenting “good riddance” and “if you can’t beat them join them”.
However, there are growing concerns about the idea of a “big Australia” being backed up by Kevin Rudd, the countries prime minister, and the strain this will place on infrastructure. Hanson leaving will remove such publicised debates on immigration policy, making the rapid growth of the Australian population through immigrants even more likely.