In his latest Quarterly Essay, journalist David Marr delves into why Pauline Hanson attracts so much attention. Looking at figures from the last election, Marr also paints a portrait of those voting for One Nation.
“The principal characteristics of her followers are this: they’re white, they’re at least third-generation Australians, they are – unlike most Australians – pessimistic about their own prospects and about the economic prospects of the country. This is a very optimistic country.
"They’re not all old. About one-third of the people who voted for her in the last election were under 45. They mostly didn’t finish school. That didn’t mean their lives were wrecked; they went on to get other qualifications.
"They are, above all, hostile to immigration. That is the most dramatic thing about them.”
Marr says the fear of Islam is at the centre of Hanson’s appeal. “If people are not recognising this, they’re just not facing facts,” he says.
As to Hanson’s “star” political status: “Whether she can survive a six-year term as a senator with this kind of lustre is a big question about her – because, on the whole, she doesn’t benefit much from prolonged scrutiny – prolonged scrutiny in the political process.”