Pauline Hanson

As a father of two young daughters, I naturally worry about whether they have any positive role models. Where, I fret, are the strong, confident, powerful women who will show them that they, too, can make a difference in the world? But I don’t fret too much, because I know there will always be at least one woman I can hold up to my girls as an example of feminine success: Pauline Hanson.

Here is a woman who has let nothing stand in her way: not the media, not the political establishment, not widespread public condemnation, not repeated humiliating failure, not awareness of the extent of her own abilities, not reality; nothing. Here is a woman who not only knows the meaning of success, but experiences it personally once every 20 years.

[Guess who’s back? Top 10 moments of Pauline Hanson]

It’s pretty fashionable to make fun of Pauline Hanson, but Pauline has never been a slave to fashion, and that’s what is so impressive about her. Where some bend and flex with the prevailing winds of popular fad, she has stood firm, as timeless as a mountain, as unchanging as stagnant water. And isn’t that something to admire? If there’s one thing we teach our children, it is to stand up for what they believe in, and there is no greater exemplar of this principle than the newly minted Senator for Queensland, who sticks to her guns like David Leyonhjelm in a honeypot.

Is it not unfair that, as a society, we urge people to fight for their beliefs, and yet when someone like Pauline Hanson comes along, we’re all “please stop fighting for your beliefs” and “why don’t you shut up?” and “at least try to make some kind of sense”. Double standards is what I call it. But I won’t have it. I want my children to always be passionately committed to their beliefs, and Pauline Hanson shows them how.

It’s not just her refusal to compromise her views in the face of criticism or facts that makes Pauline Hanson such an impressive role model, of course. There’s also that characteristic that is probably her greatest strength: she says what everyone else is thinking. I know of no other public figure during my lifetime who has said what everyone else is thinking with such determination and thoroughness. It’s something that comes naturally to her; when she sees everyone thinking a thing, she can’t help but say it.

This kind of pathological honesty and/or clairvoyance is something we could all stand to learn from. Too often, as a society, when we discover what everyone is thinking, we stay silent. We let ourselves just go on thinking it silently, eyeing each other nervously in the street or on public transport because we all know that we are all thinking it, but we’re terrified in case someone says it and upsets the social order.

[The worst result of election night: the return of Hanson]

Well Pauline Hanson isn’t afraid to upset the social order. Pauline Hanson knows that sometimes the social order needs to be upset. When your country has problems, she believes, the act of a true patriot is to say so. Because Pauline Hanson understands that when you’re being swamped by Asians, ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. That’s why, two decades after she first warned us of the Asian-swamping crisis, due to inaction on the part of various governments, she is still warning us.

If we are not careful, in 50 years she might still be warning us about being swamped by Asians, all because we failed to heed her first warning. And it’s the same with Muslims, probably. If we don’t listen to Pauline Hanson talking about Muslims today, there is a genuine risk that we’ll have to listen to her talking about Muslims tomorrow. Is that the future you want for your children?

Not me. The future I want for my children is one where they have the confidence and the chutzpah and the integrity to leave their mark on the world. And whether they make that mark by waging war on Asian swamps, or by dancing with stars, or by briefly going to prison, the important thing is that they do something. Because no matter what you say about Pauline Hanson, you can’t deny that something is exactly what she has done with her life.

This gentle, humble woman, who simply wants to see ordinary Australians given a fair go and in certain cases monitored via CCTV in their places of worship, followed her dream — a dream of national harmony, unvaccinated children and taxpayer funding — all the way to the top. Or at least to a 4% share of the top. She has shown every little girl in Australia that with a little bit of courage, an even littler bit of hard work, and an almost imperceptible bit of talent, certain narrowly defined dreams can come true.

If my daughters can be one-tenth as successful as Pauline has been, then they will win one election every 200 years. And that’s all any father could ask for.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey