Pauline Hanson in 1996

The odd history of Pauline Hanson’s first book has lessons for both her and those who are attempting to understand her return to politics.

When she was elected as the member for Oxley, to the south-west of Brisbane, Hanson drew support for her views on Asian immigrants “swamping” the country, welfare for indigenous Australians, gun rights and her opposition to so-called “political correctness”.

Now, as a nominal senator-elect for Queensland, most of those issues remain (swap Asians for Muslims). On gun rights particularly, Hanson seemed to latch onto the disaffected Coalition voters unhappy that their party had turned against them.

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

Pauline Hanson’s The Truth is hard to come by nowadays. The 1997 book put out in her name is out of print; the only copy to buy we could find was about $60 on eBay. It was put together by the burgeoning One Nation Party at the peak of its power in the late ’90s. The blurb of the book says there was a “media onslaught” against it on day one. Says the blurb on the back of the copy obtained from the State Library:

Pauline Hanson: The Truth is published in an Australia where media monopolization [yes, with American spelling] and manipulation has led to a situation where any opponent of the trendoid ideologies of the status quo — such as Pauline Hanson — becomes a subversive who must be destroyed by vilification.”

Sound familiar?

The book (on second edition) is split into two parts. The first is a collection of Hanson’s speeches in Parliament and to supporters, articles she had written and, bizarrely, a press release she had distributed. The second is a collection of rantings on a variety of topics from Hanson’s supporters in One Nation. It is poorly formatted and difficult to keep track of who is being quoted and what their views are.

Aside from Hanson herself, and the book’s compiler George Merritt, it’s difficult to say who wrote what. These are the best parts we found …

On Pauline Hanson:

“Ordinary Australians of whatever race or creed should be grateful to Pauline Hanson for her courage in speaking out on all the issues that are of concern to contemporary Australians. Her popularity is a function of her use of commonsense, her honesty and courage. Pauline Hanson is not racist: she is all for Australia and gives her all for Australia.”

On trade deals with the Asian region:

“It is like running a shop and having a major trading partner only deal with you if you allow them to have sex with your children, move into your home, and take over.”

On indigenous Australians and whether Australia was invaded:

“Pauline Hanson outraged the new class by saying that if White Australians are to feel guilty about settling Australia, then Aborigines should apologise to the relatives and descendants of the Chinese that they cannibalised in Northern Queensland in the late 19th century.”

“Much has been made of the so-called genocide of the Aborigines by the white settlers. This is a myth, and is false by definition … the essential ingredient in genocide remains having a plan to systematically annihilate some group of people and to actually carry it out. In the Australian case no such plan existed. We can say this with certainty because with the superior weapons and numbers of the whites then, Aboriginies would not have lasted for long.”

On Hanson’s ‘enemies’:

“Ordinary Australians do have a common enemy, but it is not Aboriginies, Asians, or people of any particular colour, race or creed. Our common oppressors are a class of raceless, placeless cosmopolitan elites who are exercising almost absolute power over us.”

On phone polls on gun laws showing overwhelming support for John Howard’s reforms:

“Perhaps the gun supporters were out shooting or away from the phone.”

The media was also to blame for the Port Arthur massacre. The SimpsonsTerminatorGoodfellas and Untouchables all being taken off air in the days following the massacre showed that the media was aware that they were more than just “harmless fun”, according to the book’s authors.

“The media is the great villain in this story … So if tough new gun laws are to be put in place to deal with an absolute minority of abusers, then a comprehensive ban on all violent videos is also justified.”

[Rundle: John Howard, unlikely American saviour]

The dystopian future in 2050 (including Asian lesbian overlords):

In one chapter, we’re invited to envisage their depiction of a future “Republic of Australasia 2050” where free trade and open migration rules by an official “World Government” declaration. Australia has had several presidents, including Paul Keating and Gough Whitlam. It becomes the pollution capital of the planet as punishment for “acts of genocide against Asians and Aboriginals” and has a population of 1.8 billion. Enter Australasia’s new president, Poona Li Hung:

“Ms Hung, a lesbian, is of multiracial descent, of Indian and Chinese background and was felt by the World Government to be a most suitable president. She is also part machine — the first cyborg president. Her neuro-circuits were produced by a joint Korean-Indian-Chinese research team. In the near future, given the present rates of technological success, Australasian presidents are likely to be pure synthetic cybernetic systems.”

Hanson was asked about some of the more interesting elements of this book in an interview with Andrew Denton in 2004. Many have quoted parts of this book as her views, including Denton. Hanson denied responsibility:

“That was written by some other people who actually put my name to it.  Like I said at the time, there was so much happening with the media and you just cannot do everything yourself. You just cannot sit down and read every book or every article or know every candidate that stood.”

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey