Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Taking the xenophobic temperature of the NSW Northern Rivers region

These quotes below give an indication of what Pauline Hanson's One Nation political party (PHON) believes and acts upon.

Given the chance, Pauline Hanson's One Nation will initiate a referendum to amend this race based section of the Constitution. …We must rid ourselves of Native Title and just as laws are made by and for the people so can they be amended…. Under One Nation policy the issue of Aboriginality would no longer exist as benefits by virtue of race would no longer exist. [Pauline Hanson, Longreach Speech, 11 September 1988]

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. [Pauline Hanson, First Speech in Australian Parliament, excerpt, 1996]

The indigenous population is experiencing boom growth in Australia. One only has to be recognised as an Aboriginal community to be accepted as an Aboriginal. Identifying as an Aboriginal has definite financial advantages, as Aboriginality allows them to claim a share of the booty of the native title scam as well as various other publicly funded perks not available to other Australians. [Pauline Hanson, Hansard, 2 June 1998]

Pauline Hanson has compared Islam to a disease Australians need to vaccinate themselves against….. "Let me put it in this analogy - we have a disease, we vaccinate ourselves against it," she said on Friday. [The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 March 2017]

The number of Muslims in Australia doubled in the decade from 2006 to 2016 through immigration and the high numbers of children born to Muslim families. If we do not draw a line in the sand against immigration from Islamic countries, the influence of Muslims in this country will continue to grow and Australia will continue down the path of Islamisation. [Pauline Hanson, Hansard, 17 August 2017]

Mark Latham could be forced to pay out more than $100,000 in legal costs and damages after agreeing to settle defamation proceedings brought against him by the ABC journalist Osman Faruqi. Faruqi, a former politics editor of pop culture site Junkee and a former Greens candidate, launched his libel action last year after the former leader of the Labor party accused him of “aiding and abetting Islamic terrorism” and fostering “anti-white racism in Australia”. The comments were made across Latham’s Outsiders webpage, YouTube, the Rebel Media webpage and a post on Facebook. [The Guardian, 26 November 2018]

One Nation NSW would force DNA tests on every person claiming Aboriginal heritage to qualify for government assistance. NSW One Nation Legislative Council candidate Mark Latham said the policy would weed out "the blond-haired, blue-eyed Aboriginal". [Mark Latham, 9 News, 12 March 2019]

Outlaw the new Left-wing discrimination against men, boys, Christians and white people… [Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, 10 Point Plan, March 2019]

We’re not even allowed to own guns in Australia for the self-protection of women….It’s insane. We’ve been importing all these Muslims into Australia….Some really dangerous people. They are just breaking into people's homes with baseball bats and killing people. Basically, stealing everything they own. Gangs. Our county's going into chaos. [Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Qld party official Steve Dickson, YouTube, 26 March 2019]

According to Prof.Kevin M. Dunn (UWS); Between 1996 and 1998, the Federal Government commissioned an inquiry into racism in Australia (see DIMA, 1998:1). The results of that inquiry are not publicly available, and purposefully so. I presume that the research found racism to widespread, and that it also found there to be geography to it.

Because there is little hard information and, what exists is not readily available, it is notoriously difficult - if not impossible - to work out the number of people who hold xenophobic or racist world views in any given population.

However, the NSW Legislative Council election on 23 March 2019 does open a window on that part of the Northern Rivers population who are 18 years of age and older and registered to vote in state elections.

The window exists because although no candidate from the far right, nationalist, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation stood for election to the NSW Legislative Assembly (Lower House) in the four Northern Rivers state electorates, PHON had 17 candidates standing for election in the NSW Legislative Assembly (Upper House). 

State-wide PHON had received 220,847 votes or 5.93% of all 3.72 million Upper House ballots recorded as of 22:58 pm on 26 March 2019. [See:]

So how did the Northern Rivers region fare in relation to the state percentage of voters who were willing to support xenophobic and racist ideology only eight days after an Australian was arrested for a murderous terrorist attack on worshippers in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand?

In the Ballina electorate 1,713 voters cast their first preference for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation in the NSW Legislative Council – 3.66% of all Upper House ballots cast in that electorate.

While the Clarence electorate saw 3.441 voters cast their first preference for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation in the NSW Legislative Council – 8.94% of all Upper House ballots cast in that electorate. 

And in the Lismore electorate 2,556 voters cast their first preference for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation in the NSW Legislative Council – 5.69% of all Upper House ballots cast in that electorate.

At the same time in the Tweed electorate 1,933 voters cast their first preference for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation in the NSW Legislative Council – 6.76% of all Upper House ballots cast in that electorate.

These figures appear to support the contention that there is a sub-population in the Northern Rivers region which is markedly ethnocentric and willing to vote for an openly racist political party.

This willingness has helped to elect former federal MP Mark William Latham as One Nation's first member of the NSW Parliament. He sits for a maximum term of eight years in the Upper House which will provide him with the protection of parliamentary privilege for some if not all of his frequently divisive nationalistic ideological statements.

Given that in past years a number of academic papers discussing the geography of racism have identified "Northern" NSW, the "North Coast", "Mid-North Coast" and "Richmond-Tweed" as having a relatively high number of markers for ethnocentrism and/or racism, one has to wonder if this current support for an openly racist political party represents more than just the ongoing existence of xenophobia and racism in Northern Rivers communities - that perhaps it might represent a widening acceptance and further entrenchment of such attitudes across the valleys.

No comments: