Following a dismal result in the Western Australia election in March, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party were eager to turn the tables in Hanson’s home state of Queensland.
Prior to the election, Hanson outlandishly predicted that One Nation could repeat their performance in Queensland’s 1998 election, where the party secured 11 seats. However, One Nation have severely underachieved. With more than 80 per cent of the vote counted, only a solitary seat fell to Senator Hanson’s party with little hope of more to come.
One Nation’s lone ranger is Mackay gun dealer and pest controller, Stephen Andrew, who won the seat of Mirani, edging out Labor MP Jim Pearce. As the only One Nation seat holder in the state, Mr Andrew looks set to become Queensland’s state leader of One Nation by default – a daunting task for a political novice…
Although One Nation have fallen short of expectation, Ms. Hanson remained optimistic regarding the party’s chances of winning more seats, saying Mr Andrew won’t be Queensland’s only One Nation winner.
“He won’t be the last, with things looking very strong in at least five other seats. I sense we will have some other exciting announcements over the coming days.”
But the hopes of more seats to One Nation seem to be dashed, as Labor close in on gaining a 48-seat majority government.
It isn’t all bad news for One Nation. Hanson’s party has a 13.7 per cent projected vote, which would be an increase of 12.8 per cent from the 2015 election. The swing is by far the largest of any party in Queensland.
It also appears likely that One Nation will win more votes than any other political party – major parties, Labor and the Coalition aside. To make matters worse, One Nation will be injected with $1 million in taxpayer funding, a mind-blowing increase from the last state poll where they pocketed just $53,033. Ouch.
Growing support for One Nation confirms the trend that major parties are losing popularity to their smaller and more ideologically fervent parliamentary companions. Both One Nation and the Greens made significant gains at the Queensland election and around Australia. The Greens have experienced a 1.3% swing in its favour at the 2017 election compared to the 2015 election.
The Greens’ success in Queensland follow more victories further south. Lydia Thorpe’s triumph in the Victorian state seat of Northcote just two weeks ago made her the first aboriginal woman to sit in Victoria’s Parliament. The Greens’ gain was another loss for a major party with Labor’s Clare Burns ousted – the first time Labor has lost Northcote since its creation 90 years ago.
At the end of the day, One Nation didn’t fare as well as expected; a miscalculation by the media, a disappointment for Hanson and her comrades, and importantly, a disappointment for the Coalition. The Coalition preferenced One Nation over Labor in over half the electorates, while Labor placed Hanson’s party last. The impact of the new preferential system has been profound, with Labor using it effectively, but the Coalition not so much.
As former Nationals Premier Rob Borbridge said “any association with One Nation is absolutely toxic,” and it proved that way for the Coalition in the Queensland election.
With a triumph to Labor and an unsettling result for the Coalition in the Queensland and Western Australian elections, it could spell the demise of the Turnbull Government.
Labor now holds the power in four of the six states and with the Coalition losing four MPs throughout the citizenship scandal, their grip on the Federal Parliament is teetering. The two results in the Queensland and Western Australia elections may well be an indication of a big boost for Labor in the next Federal election. Let’s just hope there’s no surge from One Nation.
After all this political chat, enjoy this little compilation of Pauline’s worst and even worse moments. Can someone please place her back behind that bookshelf?