After a weekend when the nation collectively has blue-balls about the lack of an election result and everyone is flapping about wondering what it all means, Pauline Hanson has come screeching back onto the political stage and sucked up all the media oxygen left by the vacuum of any concrete news.
Her news is concrete and it’s hardened my heart: she’s back in parliament ready to preach her unique brand of dangerous and wildly irresponsible ideas that have no basis in fact, science or human decency.
Does she deserve our respect as some defenders have claimed? I don’t believe she does. Respect must be earned and when someone has decades long history of peddling false, inflammatory dogma that stigmatises minority groups and incites hatred, distrust and division in the community, what possible cause do they have to demand anything other than ridicule?
It's easy to laugh at Pauline Hanson. She rarely speaks in complete sentences or with correct grammar - that's one of the things her supporters claim to love about her by the way - and she's so obviously out of her depth when quizzed by reporters. She comes across as angry, shrill and inarticulate and yet she gives voice to a vocal group of people who claim they are "victims of political correctness".
Let's be very clear about what that means. These are mostly men - the vast majority of her supporters are middle aged anglo-saxon men, around 80% according to Daily Telegraph political editor, Malcolm Farr - who are angry. They are angry that all the freedoms they used to have as the unchallenged dominant class in Australia have been diminished by other groups they used to be able to push around - figuratively and literally. They don't like it that they can't tell racist, sexist or homophobic jokes anymore. They don't like it that there is a societal understanding that women, people of other religions, races and sexual orientations deserve equal rights. They don't like it.