Back in 1996, I was in middle school and as is to be expected, not well-informed where politics and society were concerned. John Howard was the Prime Minister and he would remain so until 2007. Regardless of your politics, he was a successful and generally popular leader as his four election victories should attest. At the time and up until recently, I generally had a good opinion of him too. I didn’t agree at the time with his decision for Australia to join the US in their disastrous (and still ongoing), Middle Eastern wars. And I remained consistent on this and my instincts proved correct as there are increasingly few people of any political persuasion that still defend these wars today.
Something else I liked about John Howard was his stance on immigration which I thought was a strong one. The most vivid demonstration of this came with what is known as the “Tampa affair” in 2001 around the same time as the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center and elsewhere. John Howard refused to allow “refugees” that had been rescued by a Norwegian boat entry into Australia and had the audacity to defend our sovereignty from foreigners. Many Australians considered this to be bad and still do but most then (and still now), do not. Our distance from other major nations and our island geography mostly help us to avoid the mess the United States is in but Howard’s response to the Tampa affair at least helped us to avoid the similar lawlessness at our borders on a smaller scale.
The problem is this was mostly all smoke and mirrors.
I’ve come to realise (especially over the last few years), that John Howard and many of our politicians talked tough but in reality, weren’t all that tough. The problem is through Howard’s time as leader yearly migration increased and this has not stopped. When he left office in 2007, we were taking in over 100,000 a year and it is now closer to (and possibly exceeding), 200,000 a year. Australia’s population was around 18 million in 1996 and it is now over 25 million which represents a massive increase and increasingly these immigrants are coming from China and India over Great Britain and other European nations.
This brings us to Pauline Hanson who was elected to parliament the same year that Howard came to power. She was originally a member of the Liberal party but was purged because she was “racist”
said something true about Aboriginals and later formed the One Nation Party which still exists today and notably now has Mark Latham (who lost to Howard in the 2004 Federal Election), as one of its most prominent members.
Hanson became notorious due to the content of her maiden speech to parliament and the bolded section in particular was played repeatedly on television.
Immigration and multiculturalism are issues that this government is trying to address, but for far too long ordinary Australians have been kept out of any debate by the major parties. I and most Australians want our immigration policy radically reviewed and that of multiculturalism abolished. I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Asians. Between 1984 and 1995, 40 per cent of all migrants coming into this country were of Asian origin. They have their own culture and religion, form ghettos and do not assimilate. Of course, I will be called racist but, if I can invite whom I want into my home, then I should have the right to have a say in who comes into my country. A truly multicultural country can never be strong or united. The world is full of failed and tragic examples, ranging from Ireland to Bosnia to Africa and, closer to home, Papua New Guinea. America and Great Britain are currently paying the price.
Howard himself had come under fire for comments on Asian immigration as opposition leader in the 1980s but retreated from them. Hanson soon had all political parties major and minor attacking her together. In the 1998 Federal and Queensland State elections, One Nation performed very well. They achieved more than 8% of the total popular vote which was more than both the Greens and the Democrats. In Queensland they won 11 seats in the State Legislative Assembly. Hanson lost her Federal seat after the electorate was “conveniently” redistributed and all preferences were directed away from her.
Despite all the setbacks and problems that followed, for a new party to perform that well was astonishing and also quite rare. Despite the best efforts of the media and the political class, she had undeniably done very well and appealed to a significant section of the Australian population. In the years that followed, the party diminished and she even later spent time in jail on some dodgy charges of fraud which were later overturned.
This is a rough history and I had to spend some time filling in blanks in my memory to write it. The main point I want to get across is the media, political and business classes were all attacking her and I even recall one of my teachers using our Religion class to bag her. Yet despite all this, her message had resonance with the Australian public and this clearly scared our ruling class. It was also one of the rare moments where the snobbery of our elites who usually love to LARP about their [FAKE] working class backgrounds, was on full display. She was mocked for owning a fish and chip shop and her bluer way of speaking which probably also had a hand in her popularity with real Australians.
Reading through her maiden speech, I can’t see that any of her claims were unfounded or unreasonable. Chinese now make up over 5% of our population and a huge number of migrants come from there. Migration from India has also increased significantly. More alarmingly recently, the Chinese government has started to assert power far more strongly on our nation. There is also good evidence that Chinese have significant influence with the business and political classes and certainly own a lot of property and businesses here. The Australia of the 1990s no longer exists except in nostalgia found in movies like The Castle. Pauline Hanson saw what was coming and despite her mistakes and missteps, is owed a lot more respect than she got. She certainly has a better track record than the majority of the carefully pre-selected, spineless scumbags that take up space in both major parties today.
As can be seen from her recent attempt to get a plebiscite on Australian immigration, Australians don’t really have any control over who comes into their country and haven’t for a long time. We have the appearance of toughness towards the most egregious abuses but the deliberate demographic and economic destruction of our people continues apace. She correctly pointed out then that ordinary Australians have little say in who comes into our nation and it is even more true today.