The Revenant of Oz

This is she:


I hope that hasn’t scared you too much!

But before we say more about her, let’s see how our Parliament stands this morning.

  • The Coalition is now three seats ahead of Labor. The ABC’s election computer last night moved two electorates — Grey in South Australia and Petrie in Brisbane’s north — from “in doubt” to Liberal-retained
  • The Australian Electoral Commission will continue counting the remaining votes today. 80 per cent of the vote has been counted and eight seats are still in doubt
  • Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop says Malcolm Turnbull deserves to remain the party’s leader. “He’s been a consultative leader. He’s been a leader with integrity,” she said

It is in the Senate that we expect The Revenant, and possibly a number of cronies. A summary of where she stands:

After serving one term in Parliament, the former fish and chip shop owner has been parodied and pilloried, sent to prison for electoral fraud and written off countless times by the political class.

Now, she’s on track to win up to four Senate seats.

Her party’s policies are to stop all further Muslim immigration, including the intake of refugees; ban the burqa and any other full face coverings in public places; hold an inquiry or Royal Commission into Islam to “determine if it is a religion or political ideology” and install surveillance cameras inside mosques and Muslim schools.

The party also wants to introduce a National Identity Card for Australians who access taxpayer funded services and revoke any free trade agreements that are not in Australia’s interests.

Her crony most likely adds his dose of enlightened thought in another area:

The One Nation candidate with a strong chance of joining Pauline Hanson in the Senate, Malcolm Roberts, wants climate scepticism taught in schools and says the CSIRO and United Nations’ peak climate body endorse corruption…

One Nation wants the Bureau of Meteorology reviewed, including “public justification of persistent upward adjustments to historical climate records” and a review of the CSIRO to determine whether funding has influenced its climate claims.

Mr Roberts is listed as a project leader for the Galileo Movement, a prominent climate-sceptic group that boasts broadcaster Alan Jones as its patron.

In a paper published in 2013, Mr Roberts claimed CSIRO scientists were “deeply enmeshed in producing corrupt UN IPCC reports”, in reference to the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which he also described as “corrupt”…

Just what we need, eh! See also my 2011 post Galileo, Galileo!

What a joke!

This mob make Lysenko look like a model of scientific rectitude! Talk about the cart driving the horse! Ideology rampant, but science no way…

Given The Revenant’s rants about Islam it was somehow appropriate that I received this email on Election Day – pure coincidence.

My name is ——-. You may or may not remember me, I was a student —- from the class of ’04. You taught me English in Year 7. I went on to study Law/Commerce, but didn’t find the field of law particularly satisfying or enjoyable, so after 6 months of work experience during my practical legal training, I quit and did my Masters in Teaching.

I’m now a teacher at —–, an Islamic school in the western suburbs of Sydney, with an overwhelming majority of NESB students. This is my 3rd year of teaching, and as it is a very small school, I am teaching English and Maths, along with my actual specialisation of Commerce (and HSIE in general).

In any case, there was a time in Year 11/12 when I approached you for help with essay writing, and after a discussion, you showed me a piece of writing I had done in Year 7. I had written about my first memory, if I remember correctly, and had detailed my trips to my grand parents’ house in ——  Pakistan. I was just wondering if still had that saved. I would love to see my own writing from Year 7, as I now teach Year 7 English and would like to see how my own writing was like at that stage.

I’d appreciate any help you can provide.

Thanks for your time, and I still remember you as my Year 7 English teacher! I honestly don’t remember who taught me in year 8, 9 or 10 haha, so you must have done something right!

The occasion he came to me in Year 12 is this one, originally blogged on Diary-X in 2004:

Second last period today ….proved to be an enlightening, even humbling, experience. I spent it with a Year Twelve student, whom I shall call “Ali”, who was referred to me by his English teacher because there may have been a problem with what he was proposing to do as an assessment task next week. He is doing Extension 1 (“3-Unit”) in the topic Retreat from the Global.

What he proposed doing (in a three minute talk!) was something very Islamic. Ali was born in Pakistan — in fact he told me in Year Seven that he still spoke and read Urdu (and one or two other languages) and could still recall a three storey red house he lived in in Islamabad as a small child. Now he is seventeen or so, and suitably bearded. Security would probably take an interest in him if he stepped on a plane…

Naturally, the topic of the values and attitudes implicit in globalisation is of great interest to him.

He wanted to introduce his fellow students to the idea that in this world there are those who turn away from globalisation for positive reasons, because they feel there are values under threat which are worth preserving, and he wanted to do this in terms of the particular religious movement he himself belongs to. His English teacher had no idea what movement he was talking about, and, I have to confess, for all my interest in and reading about Islam and Islamists, neither did I.

Have you heard of Tablighi Jamaat?


You don’t often read about these people or see them on the media, after all. I mean, they really aren’t bad, so they really aren’t news.

I’m glad I have met one.

And Barbara Metcalf’s account of them has become a text around which Ali can build his speech.

I checked the school out where that ex-student now works. It looks interesting. Their vision:

To provide a well-rounded education suited to cultural and historical framework of the current living environment in Australia. We hope to empower and equip the future generations to meet the challenges of today’s evolving and highly competitive world. —- is committed to establishing a dynamic and supportive learning environment in which all students can become caring and considerate citizens of Australia. —- will strive to uphold the highest standard as set out in the New South Wales Board of Studies curriculum.

The school will foster understanding and respect for themselves, each other and for the diversity of the multicultural communities in Australia. Students will be encouraged to be innovative, creative, problem-solving and questioning people. Students will strive to achieve their personal best. They will be able to take their place with pride in the community and in the world.

Before leaving The Revenant and her policy in this area, check my post Eating halal food again… – and, sorry to say, the wonderful Shiraz is no longer open for lunch. But there is always Samaras.  You might also check my 2015 post Bringing it home for more related to Samaras, but much more on jihadism very close to home.

I guess you could say I find The Revenant extremely unhelpful to any Australian really wishing to be informed about such matters.

But despite her having been since Day One in 1996 a carbuncle on the Australian political scene (in my opinion) and a perpetual self-referencing soap opera, there are quite a few that like her. According to Alan Stokes in today’s Herald:

…who are these irate Australians?

Let’s look at the numbers nationally and particularly in the seven NSW seats where the incumbent is trailing. They are where people blamed their local MP. They were all held by the Coalition. One seat is inner metropolitan, three outer metropolitan, two provincial and one rural.

They are Barton around Rockdale, Macquarie around Richmond, Lindsay around Penrith and Macarthur around Campbelltown; Dobell around Wyong and Paterson around Raymond Terrace; and Eden-Monaro around Bega….

Pauline Hanson: Support for her anti-immigration views is between 3.32 per cent and 9.88 per cent based in the Senate votes for all NSW outer metropolitan, provincial and rural seats where the incumbent is trailing. In the six city-fringe seats, the average Hanson vote is 0.8 per cent. In Longman north of Brisbane where Assistant Innovation Minister Wyatt Roy was dumped, it is 9.54 per cent for Hanson. In the knife-edge seat of Herbert in north Queensland it’s 13.2 per cent. Even in Murray in Victoria she drew 5.5 per cent.

Anger grows where people are unhappiest about their access to healthcare, financial security, sense of safety and chance of securing a future in this rapidly changing nation. Turnbull hoped voters would trust him when he said he would not threaten Medicare. He promised that the benefits of his economic plan would trickle down to those outside inner-suburban, service-industry, globalised, multiculturally committed and highly educated seats.

Plenty of people didn’t believe him.

Such is life …

Finally, something I first found bizarre is who The Revenant’s pilot and media adviser turns out to be now: James Ashby. Yes, that one! See July 2015 James Ashby joins Pauline Hanson’s entourage, as her pilot and post the 2016 election, How Pauline Hanson made her political comeback.

Oh, and how did The Revenant give me a hernia in 1996? Well, recall her maiden speech. Living at the time in Surry Hills with M from Shanghai, and working where I was, I rather took a dim view of the “swamped by Asians” line. Why, would you believe I even thought it racist?  I wrote to many a politician on all sides expressing how peeved I was that P wasn’t kept in a box somewhere. Some replied, even John Howard. Meanwhile I practised what I preached by being nice to all Asians who crossed my path. One day that included a young Korean lady lugging some very heavy suitcases. Gallantly, and in defiance of Pauline H, I offered to carry them up the stairs for her. Result, alas, a hernia. And a sojourn in Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

And that’s where I propose as far as possible leaving The Revenant. This time round quite a few are already speaking up and suggesting that she really might not be the best thing since sliced bread…


Margo Kingston is well worth reading as a counterpoint to this post.

So what to do?

First, understand that Pauline Hanson’s jailing in 2003 drew almost universal condemnation and transformed her into a celebrity. She has appeared on popular reality shows and has a weekly spot on Seven’s Sunrise program. She is LIKED by most “ordinary” Australians. It follows that sneering put downs, nasty labels and suggestions she has no right to be in parliament are utterly counterproductive and will, like last time, increase her support.

Second, understand that her high vote signifies a serious scream about what life is like in those areas, and address the issues.

Third, welcome Hanson to the parliament. She has the right to be there and her voters have the right to be represented.

Fourth, have the conversation. Go with her to where her voters are and have a chat.

Western democracies are splitting up into warring tribes. I think Hanson’s return to our parliament is a chance to bring ours together a little bit.

If we try.

Also good:

Michael Bradley, Why simply calling Hanson racist doesn’t help.

…It’s obviously perplexing, because Hanson has always had visible difficulty with her debating skills. She comes across as not very bright, but perpetually very angry and confused; a person who struggles to articulate how she feels about the world beyond saying “I don’t like it”.

She isn’t exactly a charismatic or charming presence. She is certainly not a demagogue. But here she is, with enough votes to secure two, three or four seats in the Senate for her and a few of the odd white men who have sworn fealty to her brand.

It’s unclear to me what the difference is between our calling Hanson a racist and her habit of branding other people who she has not met with pejorative labels. What Hanson does – in particular, what she says – is frequently reprehensible. She can appropriately be criticised and called to account for the offence and hurt she causes by her repetitive and irrational attacks on everyone and everything she perceives from her extremely limited frame of understanding to be not representative of the “real Australians”, her nostalgically imagined tribe….


Antony Green has crunched the numbers: One Nation Support at the 2016 Federal Election.