“I
think John Howard’s very clever, very clever indeed. He never put me
down. One time in Parliament, he said I was simplistic and had no idea
what I was talking about, but what he did was allow me to go out and
raise the issues, gathered the public response by it and then came back
in later and did something about it.” That’s what Pauline Hanson told
Michael Bowers on the ABC’s Insiders on Sunday.

OK, so who’s going to dog-whistle to the God-botherers? Labor is “on a mission to find God – and voters” according to The Australian.
“The important lesson is that more and more political issues will
involve non-material themes that connect with people’s relationships
and values,” it has maybe wannabe leader Lindsay Tanner saying. “We’re
still working away on our analysis of the growing importance of values
in Australian politics and how Labor strengthens its values-based
message to voters.”

“It is believed that union leader and
parliamentary aspirant Bill Shorten visited Sydney Anglican Archbishop
Peter Jensen last week,” The Age reports – along with a considered analysis
where the brother of Hillsong special guest Peter Costello, the
Reverend Tim, says it’s unfair to suggest the Sydney Pentecostal church
has more than a little in common with the American religious right. “If
you look at Hillsong and the Pentecostal movement here, then I would
say it is more Democrat than Republican, more left than right,” he says.

It
looks as if comfortable media beliefs – or clichés – rather than
anything religious might be more under challenge. Dismiss these voters,
dismiss their aspirations and you open them up to the sort of
exploitation darker forces tried on Hanson’s followers – while failing
to report the story.

Peter Fray

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