The Media and Neo-Populism: A Contemporary Comparative Analysis

By Gianpietro Mazzoleni; Julianne Stewart et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter Six
One Nation and the Australian Media

Bruce Horsfield and Julianne Stewart


INTRODUCTION

Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party—colloquially, One Nation—has been selected for this analysis for the reason that it is the only neopopulist party in Australia in the postwar years to have had any national electoral significance,1 and certainly the only one to elect a member to the federal parliament. Another reason is the impact that this party, and especially its leader, Pauline Hanson, has had on the Australian media. In every federal and state election a host of minor parties lines up; some, such as the Greens and the centrist Australian Democrats, have had a degree of electoral success (sometimes holding the balance of power between the two major parties—the Australian Labor Party "ALP" and the Liberal-National Party coalition). However, the electoral success of One Nation has been unique among minor parties of the right.

One Nation was formed one year after the election to parliament as an independent in March 1996 of Pauline Hanson, maverick deselected Liberal Party candidate for the federal seat of Oxley in outer suburban Brisbane, Queensland. The year 1996 saw the election in which the ALP lost to the coalition after thirteen years in office. Hanson had campaigned as an independent after losing her Liberal preselection for making a series of public racist remarks during her election campaign, and for writing a letter outlining her views to a local newspaper, The Queensland Times. At a time when Australian politics appeared to be moving more to the right—with the landslide victory of the coalition under Prime Minister John Howard and much public criticism of what was described as the increasing "political correctness" of the Labor government under

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