Pauline Hanson jailed but racism still at large

Pauline Hanson the fish and chip shop owner from Oxley, Queensland who founded the racist One Nation political party back in the 1996 when she was kicked out of the Liberals, has been jailed for defrauding the Australian taxpayer of half a million bucks. The outspoken advocate of harsher prison sentences and fierce opponent of Blacks and Asian migrants now finds herself sentenced to prison for three years surrounded by the Blacks and Asians she detests so much.

Hanson was the pretty face of One Nation, but she was manipulated from behind the scenes by David Oldfield and David Ettridge, both proto fascist politicos who revived the old White Australia policies of the colonial days. Blacks should come off welfare, and Asians should keep out. Oldfield in an unguarded moment once described himself as a ‘national socialist’. He is now an Australian Senator.

One Nation’s appeal (over 30% in Queensland and still around 10% there and in Western Australia) was to the little Aussie ‘battlers’ - bankrupt small farmers, desperate self-employed, disgruntled jobless and poor workers, who saw Blacks and Asian migrants as the cause of their economic plight rather than the Australian ruling class and their US counterparts screwing up the rate of exploitation.

Howard tried to ignore One Nation. But when One Nation showed that there was a majority of rural poor willing to back its anti-Black and anti-Asian politics the mainstream Liberal politicians ripped off Hanson’s clothes. Howard who still refuses to ‘apologise’ to Blacks for their historic oppression at the hands of the settlers, tried to woo Hanson’s supporters while at the same time mounting a secret legal challenge to the party’s legality to destroy it. He swiped Hanson’s racist card. He ripped off her policy of turning away the boatpeople and even took here suggestion of granting refugees a 5 year temporary visa, and reduced it to 3 years!

Meanwhile the Labourite cosmopolitan middle class rubbished One Nation’s policies. For example, Hanson couldn’t decide if Asians born in Australia had time to become real Australians or not. Not surprising when Blacks who had been in Australia for 10,000 years did not qualify as Australians until 1967! She wanted family courts replaced with neighbourhood committees (more shades of national socialism?)

The media and liberal academics treated Hanson like ignorant ‘white trash’ and she became an easy target for the sophisticated racists. She was labelled the ‘Oxley moron’ and her party ‘One Notion’ i.e. racism. But scratch a raving multiculturalist and you find a polite racist. Hanson had dragged the skeleton of racist genocide out of the closet and she had to be shut up back in the closet.

But that skeleton has been truly outed with the legal victories of Mabo (1992) and Wik (1996) which gave Blacks the right to claim land that they had continuously occupied or had not been formally taken off them. In other words as far as the law was concerned, Australia was no longer terra nullius –‘land belonging to no-one’ when the settlers arrived. Blacks’ claim to title was equal to that of the settlers, and where that title had not been formally ‘extinguished’ (i.e. expropriated) by the crown they could try to reclaim it.

The mining industry, pastoralists and state governments all campaigned to get these decisions overridden by the Federal Government. Following Mabo Keating passed the Native Title Act of 1993 that formally and retrospectively ratified the expropriation of most Aboriginal land. Then, after Wik Howard brought out a plan to give leaseholders and miners’ protection from land claims. He amended Keating’s Native Title Act in 1996 to allow the big farmers and mining companies a free hand to continue exploiting the land to which Blacks could now claim native title. Howard had, in the name of enlightened, multicultural Australia, put limits on native title and shafted land rights back into the stone-age. Hanson’s out there brand of racism, and the radical land rights cause that fed it, had to be shoved back in the closet.

But Mabo and Wik were the victories of decades of Black protest and struggle for Black land rights. This included the Tent Embassy outside Parliament House in Canberra set up in 1975 and which is still there today. Black land rights would not go away. In 1998 four members of the Tent Embassy tried to get Howard, two other politicians, and Pauline Hanson arrested on the charge of conspiracy to commit genocide with Howard’s 10-point plan to roll back the Wik decision. The legal challenge failed but Howard was forced to make concessions to a Green Senator to limit his 10 point plan to abolish native title. So long as native title remained, the racist, chauvinist constituency opposed to land rights and Asian migration did not go away either.

Howard completely upstaged Hanson and revived his slumping popularity to get re-elected last year when he used the navy to blockade the refugee ship Tampa and re-direct the ‘boatpeople’ to Nauru and NZ. At the same time he kept asylum seekers locked up on concentration camps like the one at Woomera near the site of a former British atomic testing ground in the South Australian desert. Then he blocked off the backdoor entry of refugees into Australia from NZ. Now after the Bali bombing he is riding high on the US ‘war of terror’, mounting his deputy sheriff’s posse and swaggering into the Pacific frontier to lock up Blacks in their own homelands before they get the chance to invade Australia and upset Pauline’s people.

The result of all this was that much of the One Nation vote swung in behind the Liberals, leaving Hanson in the wilderness. Now her conviction leaves her political reputation in tatters. Or does it? We aint heard the last of One Nation and its radical populist politics. A rush of public sympathy for a pretty white woman to be released from jail will prove that mainstream Australia is still as racist and chauvinist at heart as Hanson. She is one of their own. She is an icon for White Australia. Even a tarnished icon should not be locked up with Blacks and Asian crims. No wonder John Howard is joining in the chorus to free Pauline Hanson. Maybe he has found a new recruit to a respectable racist groundswell that he can exploit for the next election.

In the end Black struggles have failed to win land rights because the white working class in Australia did not take up the cause for land rights and did not oppose this racist legislation with industrial action. Not until the white workers in the labour movement overcome their complicity in the racist foundations of Australian nationalism and come out on the side of Black land rights will the racist and chauvinist divisions in the working class be overcome. Until that happens, the bosses will continue to use the Black bogey as a way of uniting white Australia across the class lines and whipping up chauvinist hysteria to back their jackal imperialist policies in the Pacific and Asia. Aboriginal fighter Charlie Perkins had a good line on White Australian racism – it is a defence against the bone chilling fear that every white Aussie has a Black bastard hidden in the closet. White Australians want to keep their nation pure scared of the ghost of miscegenation! But Perkins, now dead, was no Marxist. Australian workers must confront that skeleton and destroy the basis of the racist divisions in the working class once and for all so that Black and White workers can unite for a socialist Australia!

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