She’s certainly trying her hardest to fool us, as always. But despite the Coalition’s best efforts to justify giving its preferences to her One Nation party in the Western-Australian state election by putting us on with the proposition that she’s a more mature and sophisticated figure these days, she’s demonstrating that she’s as seriously if not dangerously idiotic as ever.
Her assertion during an interview with the ABC’s Barry Cassidy for his Insiders program last Sunday that she admires Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin because he’s a ‘strong leader’ was a load of typically Hansonian hogwash.
For several reasons, the first of which was that, as a series of questions from an almost incredulous Cassidy revealed, she seems to have no particular problem with Putin’s involvement in the massacre of 298 people, including 38 Australian citizens killed in the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 by a Russian ground-to-air missile.
In fact she preposterously rejected any suggestion that Putin should be considered accountable for this crime on the spurious grounds that he didn’t personally ‘push the button’.
But Hanson pushed a great many buttons, apparently. Not least that of Adam Gartrell, who wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald scorning Hanson’s hypocrisy for routinely demonizing Muslim immigrants as potential killers of Australians, yet praising Putin, ‘who is ultimately responsible for killing 38 Australians, many more than IS has so far managed.’
‘She’s always banging on about upholding Australian values but then heaps praise on a man who tramples democracy, ignores the rule of law, invades neighbouring countries and murders his critics,’ Gartrell continued.
And in a separate article he further lambasted her for the additional hypocrisy of first voicing admiration for the dictatorial Vladimir Putin, then later decrying the Australian government’s insistence on universal child vaccination as ‘dictatorial’.
All that being well and truly said, however, I have to concede that I greatly appreciate Pauling Hanson’s contribution to Australian political life.
Without her, or somebody equally dreadful, the maniacal minority that we’re all aware exists in this as in any other country would have nobody to represent their interests, however inane or insane, and thus they would be unjustly and unfairly disenfranchised.
Perhaps even more undesirably, without a figurehead like Hanson to bring them out of the woodwork, they’d be virtually invisible and thus difficult for the rest of us to identify and do our level best to deal with.
Though of course they could always be accommodated in the ultra-right or in other words ultra-wrong wing of the Liberal-National Coalition, as former Prime Minister John Howard demonstrated when he co-opted them by cracking-down on so-called ‘boat people’, most notoriously during the so-called ‘Tampa’ affair, and as the Turnbull government is as we speak doubtless scheming as hard as it can to come up with a plan to do.
Or, to put this another way, Pauline is Putin herself and the rest of us on, alright, as usual. But let’s hope that the one notion that the coalition seems to be able to come up with in response to her and her fellow One Nation nutters – to out-crazy them like Howard and the gang managed to get away with – doesn’t work so well for Turnbull and Co.