Before the broad sandstone sweep of the Kalgoorlie courthouse, arches and porticos and a clock tower etched against the sky, Pauline Hanson paused and turned on her heel to the photographers. It was close to midday and the sun was high in the sky, and she was perfectly turned out as always, a model for us all. The red coiffure had not a hair out of place, the eyebrows were as arched and feline as ever, and the dress was a knock-out -- a black and white just-below-the-knee number, with white, pink and orange tropical flowers growing up the back and front, black high heels, clack clack clack on the pavement.

The verandas of Hannan Street stretched before her, long and low, cast-iron rusting in the sun. A crowd of admirers stretched behind, came out of the K-Mart, white and Aboriginal, Indian and east Asian, wheeling shopping trolleys with their kids in the high-bit, and 16-pack toilet rolls and chuck steak in the front. They whispered excitedly to each other, they pushed each forward.