According to a sauce at the ‘Australian Broadcasting Corporation’, (Pauline Hanson’s) ‘One Nation Party’ (ONP) looks set to disappear, 12 years after it burst into national (and international) prominence (One Nation: from a bang to a whimper, Nicole Butler, October 11, 2009). “The Electoral Commission is again threatening to de-register the party, arguing it does not have the minimum 500 members or a serving representative in Parliament.” The current incarnation of ONP — which has undergone various combinations and permutations since its founding — was registered on June 2, 2004. (‘One Nation Queensland Division’ was deregistered on December 27, 2006; ‘One Nation Western Australia’ on December 27, 2006, and again on June 17, 2009. ‘Pauline Hanson’s One Nation’ was deregistered on February 8, 2005.)
This is good news for the ‘Australia First Party’ (AF), whose founder, Graeme Campbell, had the misfortune to launch it just as Pauline Hanson, David Ettridge and David Oldfield gave birth to the little party that could (and now can’t). Following his expulsion from the ALP, Campbell contested the seat of Kalgoorlie at the October 1998 Federal election as a member of Australia First: he came third, gaining 15,585 votes (22.79%). The seat was won by Liberal Party member Barry Haase (who remains the sitting member). In November 2001, Campbell stood for a seat in the Senate, on this occasion as a member of One Nation and as No.1 on their ticket. ONP gained a total of 77,757 votes (7.03%), but no seats.
The reasons for ONP’s demise are generally understood to revolve around the absorption by the HoWARd Government of some of its major policies; the absence of a coherent ideology; poor leadership; its outsider status as a new, minor political party; and political sabotage by the major parties.
In her (in)famous maiden speech to the Federal Parliament, delivered on September 10, 1996 as the newly-elected Independent for the seat of Oxley in Queensland, Pauline Hanson presented herself as an ‘ordinary’ Australian, a member of a silent (or silenced) majority, whose needs and desires were being ignored by the political establishment.
Hanson voiced her opposition to ‘political correctness’; the ‘Aboriginal industry’ and the privileged status of Aborigines in Australian society; immigration (“I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Asians”); multiculturalism and the Family Law Act, and expressed concern over high levels of unemployment, a declining standard of living, and foreign ownership of Australian industry. She called for the abolition of ATSIC, foreign aid (“The government should cease all foreign aid immediately and apply the savings to generate employment here at home”) and multiculturalism (“Abolishing the policy of multiculturalism will save billions of dollars and allow those from ethnic backgrounds to join mainstream Australia, paving the way to a strong, united country”). On immigration, she stated that it “must be halted in the short-term so that our dole queues are not added to by, in many cases, unskilled migrants not fluent in the English language”, and also advocated the introduction of national service (military conscription for young adults).
ONP’s support peaked in 1998, when it received one million votes. Since then, it has been on a long, slow decline, punctuated by various schisms and minor scandals.
“We must have one people, one nation, one flag.”
The response of the HoWARd Government to ‘Hansonism’ was two-pronged. On the one hand, it sought to downplay its significance, while doing what it could to undermine Hanson’s support base — largely confined to rural and regional Queensland, and some urban centres, principally Brisbane (the state’s capital). On the other hand, while it engaged in some muted criticism of her policies, its own rhetoric reflected Hanson’s concerns, and the Government even adopted — directly, or indirectly — some of her key policies, notably the abolition of ATSIC, and the strengthening of Australia’s borders. In this respect, HoWARd was simply reinforcing ALP policy. In addition to ‘The Pacific Solution’ (excising territories and constructing prisons on outlying islands), it expanded the use of concentration camps for asylum seekers, camps introduced by the previous ALP Government in 1992, under then Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs (turned corporate lobbyist), Gerry Hand:
I believe it is crucial that all persons who come to Australia without prior authorisation not be released into the community. Their release would undermine the Government’s strategy for determining their refugee claims or entry claims. Indeed, I believe it is vital to Australia that this be prevented as far as possible. The Government is determined that a clear signal be sent that migration to Australia may not be achieved by simply arriving in this country and expecting to be allowed into the community.
Thus, Hanson’s remark in September 1996 — “Of course, I will be called racist but, if I can invite whom I want into my home, then I should have the right to have a say in who comes into my country” — was echoed by HoWARd five years later, seeking to capitalise on public fears of being swamped by non-White refugees. “We will decide who comes to this country and the circumstances in which they come” was his boast in October 2001.
Old Skool Stylee
In many respects, ONP was an historical throwback, a return to old skool labourism and the policies progressively abandoned by Labor in its post-1960s incarnation, in particular those emerging from the party’s commitment to white nationalism: support for Australian industry, especially industrial manufacturing, combined with immigration restrictions on non-Whites. (On labourism, see : Transforming Labourism, Eurhythmania, September 26, 2009.) It was also a response, in part, to the ascendancy of ‘neo-liberalism’, enthusiastically embraced by the ALP under first Hawke and then Keating (1983–1996). Damien Cahill notes that “…it is unlikely that the rise of Hansonism as a political force — at the end of the survey period — would have been possible had it not been for the effects that neo-liberal restructuring was having upon many rural and working class communities. Interestingly, it was new class discourse that Hanson turned against the architects of neo-liberalism in order to mobilise opinion against ‘elites’.” (‘The radical neo-liberal movement as a hegemonic force in Australia, 1976-1996’, Damien C. Cahill, University of Wollongong, 2004 [PDF].)
Dr James Saleam and Australia First
In July 2009, AF declared that it had a sufficient number of members (525) to register with the Australian Electoral Commission as a political party. Three months later, on October 3, it declared that the relevant documents have been submitted to the AEC to allow it to initiate the formal process enabling its registration. (‘Australia First Party’ was deregistered on August 13, 2004.)
The leader of AF, Dr James Saleam, is not especially ‘charismatic’ and, unlike Hanson when she first reared her head as a Tory, Saleam’s political history is located on the extreme right, from openly neo-Nazi to merely fascist. He is also a convicted criminal, having been found guilty of fraud and violent crime. Thus in 1989… “he provided a shotgun to two boneheads who fired into the home of Eddie Funde, the African National Congress representative in Australia. Funde and his wife were inside and shotgun pellets narrowly missed their sleeping baby. Saleam was sentenced to 3½ years’ jail for his involvement”; he was also involved in an “insurance scam in which he falsely claimed [his] house had been robbed. He was jailed for two years for fraud” (see : Dr James Saleam & ‘The Audacity of Hate’ (‘The Audacity of Hate’, Greg Bearup, Good Weekend, September 26/27, 2009), September 26, 2009).
As an electoral candidate then, Saleam makes an unlikely vote-winner. That said, there are certainly a range of others able and willing to enter into a popularity contest with Labour, Tory and other parties, among them George Atkinson, Greg Bailey, Kevin Baldwin, Nathan Clarke, Terry Cooksley, Richard Hedditch, Ian McBryde, Alex Parker, Tony Pettitt, Jim Smith and Darrell Wallbridge, all of whom have stood in NSW. In Queensland, Peregrine John Beverley Jewell and Peter Schuback have also thrown their hats into the ring on behalf of AF.
Kameradschaft Down Under
On the one hand, AF has experienced little success in the electoral arena thus far, and even as a registered party, is unlikely to at any point in the near future. On the other hand, Saleam’s conception of the role of AF is to act as a catalyst for the formation of a genuine social movement, one capable of engaging in the forms of political and social action that has seen the German neo-Nazi ‘National Democratic Party’ (NPD) carve out a niche in various territories, especially economically-depressed parts of the former East Germany (see: The NPD in Germany (and Australia), August 27, 2009; Huzzah for the NPD! Huzzah for the Sydney Forum!, August 25, 2009). Thus: “The Australia First Party shall take advantage of the benefits of Federal registration and will certainly offer an electoral alternative and intervene in that process. However, the party became aware long ago that if it relied on electoral means alone, it would ultimately fail to build a mass movement and in the shorter term fail to defend Australian workers, farmers, small business and other working people directly against the globalist economic and political order. It was Australia First that advanced the idea of a broad approach, the “three tier method”: electoral activity, community action and cultural defence” (Statement: Australia First Has Applied For Registration As A Federal Party, October 3).
Welf Herfurth, a former member of the NPD who has resided in Sydney for the last 20 years — see : Who’s who in the “national anarchist” zoo? — is one of the key conduits for the transmission of the lessons to be drawn from the German experience to Australia. His analysis finds its most sustained expression in his writings and speechifying on the subject of Kameradschaft: see : www.newrightausnz.com/?p=27 and video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7734684144311567576. Note that Herfurth’s speech was presented at the 2007 Inverell Forum — an event Hanson was scheduled to speak at but cancelled on the basis that Herfurth and another Holocaust denialist, Richard Krege, were also scheduled to speak.
- On Australia First, see also:
2009 Sydney Forum : Redux (September 29, 2009) | The White Baton Passes On To Australia First (September 17, 2009) | The Mad Arab — Dr Jim Saleam (July 23, 2009) | Dreaming of An Aryan Jeannie : Australia First, Australian Protectionist Parties (July 10, 2009) | White With Fear : Flagging A New Hate (June 11, 2009) | Australia First Party : Trouble At Mill! (May 29, 2009) | Rule #1 : NO POOFTAS! (Australia First Expels Hanson / Green Party Supporter: AtTeMpT tO dIsRuPt AuStRaLiA fIrSt StYmIeD) (March 27, 2009) | Australian Protectionist Party, Australia First Party, and the future of White nationalism (January 30, 2009)
Doctor Saleam Jumps the Shark (December 23, 2008) | Go Diane! For petunias, the Queen and clean toilets (November 12, 2008) | Scrutinising the religious and political right (Alan Matheson) (November 8, 2008) | “Nazi rubbish”: James Saleam is unamused (September 15, 2008) | What did you do for your race this week? Australia First launches its election campaign! (August 13, 2008)
australia. first. party. nuts. fish. heads. fish. heads. roly. poly. fish. heads. (September 27, 2007) | Australia First Party makes like a banana… (September 17, 2007) | Australia First and Stormfront Down Under: Fruit and Nuts (August 29, 2007) | Traitors! Boo! (March 10, 2007) | White Australia: AFP says let’s start with Tamworth (February 1, 2007) | Moffat, AFP, and those BLOODY FOREIGNERS! (January 6, 2007)
Cronulla Anniversary: A Kiwi Perspective (December 27, 2006) | Sydney Forum 2006 Redux (October 17, 2006) | Sydney Forum 2006 : Saleam strikes back! (August 25, 2006) | The Sydney Forum // Australia First Party Conference (August 22, 2006) | The Sydney Forum, 2006 : Re-Setting the Agenda (August 16, 2006) | Your invitation to the 2006 Sydney Forum (August 8, 2006) | My name is John Drew! How do you do? (January 4, 2006)
Dr James Saleam, Australia First and the Patriotic Youth League (December 29, 2005)