On the ninemsn.com website they cut off the comments after 300 or so. By then there was not much new that could be said about Pauline Hanson’s opening Senate campaign salvo.

Along with the “good on you for saying what so many of us Australians think” were the predictable torrents of outrage that religious beliefs were being talked about in connection with immigration. Calling for a moratorium on migration by Muslims stirs strong feelings.

Her former adviser John Pasquarelli writing in Crikey yesterday was impressed by the fact that an MSN poll at 11.40am had 12,520 people supporting her with 4,629 against.

At first glance 17,200 seems like a lot of clicks but I notice that at the same time this morning 21,000 people had been moved to answer the question are we heading for another recession?

Perhaps the only interesting point of this very unscientific polling method was that by the time the votes got over the 50,000 mark they were running three to one in Ms Hanson’s favour.

She is being written off, of course, by all of us political pundits but there must be a nagging doubt that speaking the unspeakable will strike a chord with many Australians.

A little dash of xenophobia, mixed with a little religious bigotry, seems to appeal to 10 per cent or so of the population in many western democracies.

There is no reason to think that Queenslanders will prove any different to those attracted to the National Front in the north of England or to Le Pen in France.

Leave your comment on this story at the Crikey Politics Free For All now

Peter Fray

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