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Pauline Is No Punching Bag

The gloves are off.

07/07/2016 10:47 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:56 PM AEST
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Pauline Hanson is not happy. She complained that the media "see me as a punching bag", and then made a couple of light-hearted threats about the downfall of the entire industry.

At first, that didn't make sense to me, because I thought that a punching bag was something that you took your aggression out on, rather than what it actually means according to Urban Dictionary, which is a scapegoat. But even that confuses me, because if Hanson sees herself as a scapegoat, it means that she takes no responsibility for her policies and ideas, as if she is just the messenger -- which is absolutely not true.

Hanson claims to merely be speaking for Austrayans (aka Australians), and indeed, she is certainly representing the very small percentage of people who did vote for her. But those people voted for her because her platform resonated with them -- meaning her beliefs, and hopes for the country, appealed to them. So unless she held a meeting of the One Nation Voters Brains Trust to draft her election platform, she's the only one who can take responsibility for its content.

So, now Hanson is being held to account for everything she's espoused; she's not a punching bag. I think that amidst the outrage and opinion pieces that have been written about her this week, Hanson may have forgotten what she's said that has made many Australians mad. So I'm going take a second to remind us all of a few of her and her party's more notorious moments:

1. The oldie but goodie -- "I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Asians." Hanson is an outspoken advocate against multiculturalism -- something to think about when devouring your next laksa or even seeing your next doctor.

2. "We have to take a strong stance against Muslims." I think the stereotypes and prejudice inherent in this comment was summed up when I told my nine-year-old son this quote, and he exclaimed "But Sam's mum is a Muslim and she brought cupcakes to school!"

3. "I just don't want to see Austraya become Asianised." I understand. We don't belong here. Most of us don't even need to use sunscreen in Summer - sheesh - how un-Australian is that?!

4. One Nation made it part of their platform to abolish the Racial Discrimination Act. I genuinely desire to know why it can't stay. Just because it's unlikely Hanson will ever need it for protection? Or because it affords recourse to people such as Senator Nova Peris when she is racially abused for her Aboriginal heritage, which is even more irksome to Hanson, who is a critic of Aboriginal land rights, reconciliation and welfare?

5. Hanson has called for a Royal Commission into Islam. (Just my opinion, but I think Wiki-ing it so she can get a better understanding is probably a more cost-effective start).

6. "You don't have to be white to be Australian (she spelled it correctly on a poster). We only ask you learn to read and write English, respect our flag, abide by our laws and constitution and join in with the rest of us." The language on this poster is inherently divisive - "you" and "us" and "our" and "join in". It demonstrates a sad "us and them" mentality. And thanks, Pauline, for the permission to not be white.

7. Hanson is strongly opposed Halal certification. Honestly -- what is it to her if people eat food prepared in a certain way that is not illegal? I think my friends who purchase only organic food are slightly tossy when put in the context of millions of starving people around the world, but if they are happy to pay $25 for a banana, what do I care?

I know some people may see nothing wrong with any of Hanson's points. That's because those people don't really understand the meaning of discrimination, which is basically about bias, and racism, which essentially is the belief in one race's superiority over others. A "right to an opinion" doesn't mean that when they express that opinion, the opinion is simply their opinion -- it is also a racist comment. The problem with people who can't identify outright racism is that they also often don't see casual racism when it happens -- and that poses an equally massive risk to our increasingly multi-cultural society.

Getting back to Hanson's video message; it finishes with, "If you're not going to give me a fair go, don't come knocking on my door. Because you ain't going to get an interview out of me." To which I say -- when you take responsibility for your divisive ideas and don't hide behind the tiny handful of people who voted for you, I'd love to have a chat over a halal snack pack.

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