27 February 2009

Vote 1: Slap

Time for another Weekly Slap that doubles as a long service smacking. Without any further ado, strike up the banjo for this week's recipient...

Pauline Hanson.

International readers will probably, blessedly, be unaware of Ms Hanson's place in the Australian political landscape - down the back, under the septic tank. First coming to national attention in 1996, after a procedural glitch saw her elected to Federal parliament, Hanson was spun as a champion of the ordinary person. The fact that she didn't talk like a career politician, and spoke her mind, attracted a degree of following, and the existence of the One Nation party. Over time, it became apparent that speaking her mind was a quick process, for the same reason that it doesn't take two hours to recite a limerick. Simplicity was revealed to be ignorance, and while people started to get an idea of what she and hers stood against, such as immigration, standing for something didn't seem to be part of the equation. The same way a renter will put furniture over a stain in the carpet, Hanson and her handlers would cover lack of ideas and knowledge with an Australian flag.

Before Pauline settled into her rightful position as punchline, she provided camouflage for then-Prime Minister John Howard. As the Liberals seemed determined to divide the country on racial lines, they could always point at the Ugly Stepsister and say "well at least we're not that!". The house of straw eventually blew away, but not before cementing Hanson in the public consciousness. She has made several tilts at regaining a place in Federal, NSW and Queensland parliaments, all without success. Or, at least, without actually gaining a seat...

In the past week, Pauline announced that on Monday, she'll announce her return to the political arena, running in the Queensland state election for the seat of Beaudesert. She can't win, but such are the Australian electoral laws that any candidate who achieves over four percent of the vote gets paid. In her last run for the Federal senate, she pocketed up to $170 000 (the gap between her expenditure and the funding from the Electoral Commission for getting above the magic 4%). She's not running to bring exposure to a particular issue; she has nothing to say. It's not about representing the electorate, as she keeps trying to find different people in different areas to represent, showing a Shane Warne-esque degree of commitment. She's simply hoping enough MENSA candidates vote for her because they remember seeing her off of the talking picture box for another payday.

And so, Mr Speaker, I move that for being a drain on the public purse and the national IQ, that the candidate for Beaudesert hereby be Slapped.

Motion carried.

Link - Pauline Hanson to stand in Beaudesert against Big Brother gatecrasher Aidan McLindon

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