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Political analyst and independent Member discuss One Nation and Pauline Hanson.
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Thursday, 13 November 2003
Videotape: 1005305 (V03/0822-4-1);\n Online Text: 1005306
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KATTER, Bob, Jnr, MP
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Political analyst and independent Member discuss One Nation and Pauline Hanson.
This transcript has been prepared by a source external to the Department of the Parliamentary Library.
It may not have been checked against the broadcast or in any other way. Freedom from error, omissions or misunderstandings cannot be guaranteed.
For the purposes of quoting verbatim from a transcript, it is advisable to verify the transcript against the broadcast.
Thursday 13 November 2003
JENNY BROCKIE: Thanks very much for joining Insight tonight. Graeme Morris, you know the PM as well as anyone. In the fallout from the Hanso n case, do you think it is less likely that he'll call an early double dissolution election or a double dissolution at all?
GRAEME MORRIS, FORMER POLITICAL ADVISER: I don't think she'll have any effect on it at all. He will get to somewhere around June an d then have a look at what the political climate is, what the issues are, how the Labor Party's travelling and I suspect the last thing on his mind would be Pauline Hanson.
JENNY BROCKIE: How closely will the Coalition be watching what happens now, though, in relation to Pauline Hanson, whether she tries to revive One Nation, whether she runs on her own, what impact it will have for conservative voters, in Queensland in particular?
GRAEME MORRIS: Yeah, but where she comes in is she brings in a sort of a fifth political force. You've got the Labor Party, the Liberals, a couple of Democrats, the Greens. Pauline Hanson in her own right brings in a new voice. But she sort of takes votes off all parties and I suspect if there is a double dissolution, I suspect she could win, I think she could get 7% of the vote, providing she stands in Queensland and doesn't muck around in NSW or something. But a half Senate, I don't think she can get 14. So if it's not a double dissolution she doesn't get into the parliament.
JENNY BROCKIE: And yet a Queensland poll showed 30% of Queenslanders would give her their number one Senate vote after she was released from jail and 40% in rural and regional Queensland. That's a lot more than 14%.
GRAEME MORRIS: Also, there's no election tomorrow. The election will be, you know, sometime next year and a lot of this hype will die down and she'll be looked at not from the lady who got wrongly jailed, but for some of the things that she will be saying at the time. Some of the stuff is reasonable some of it's idiotic.
JENNY BROCKIE: Bob Katter, what do you think?
BOB KATTER, INDEPENDENT MP: I think that Graeme's underestimating the sense of rage, particularly over her jailing. I mean, alright, you've got all three parties from where people like me sit, there's no difference between the three major parties and their policies. I mean, each of them, as far as we're concerned, want to deregulate everything, globalise everything, privatise everything, there's no difference for us. But the average person in Australia is a very real threat, a very real threat is upon each and every one of them as a result of those movements. Now she, she articulated that rage very, very well. I'm not saying, you know, the argument is that she didn't articulate the answers, but she most certainly articulated the rage, whether you agree or disagree on whether she had the answers. But she will articulate that rage again and that rage out there is much stronger now than it was before and added to it is this idea that if you disagree with deregulation, privatisation, globalisation, if you disagree with that direction, then this will happen to you. One of the National Party senators, actually - I've seen his speech, and it read that "Right, we fixed up" - this was after she had gone to jail, I was told - "we fixed up the One Nation, now it's for the Independents." And that most certainly would reflect a very prevalent attitude out there from the three mainstream parties and their proponents, their politicians.
JENNY BROCKIE: Who do you think, if she runs and if One Nation runs as a party, who do you think is likely to be the loser? Which parties?
BOB KATTER: I agree with Graeme. She had very real pulling power - the third force. Graeme said fifth force - no, I don't think that's right. I think people who're voting for the Greens, the Democrats, One Nation are very much the same sort of people. Thos e three 'shuns', you know, the globalisation, privatisation...
JENNY BROCKIE: The Greens and One Nation are very much the same sort of people?
BOB KATTER: On issues of privatisation, deregulation, globalisation, all of those third-force parties walk exactly the same side of the street. Have a look at the voting patterns between the three Independents and the House of Reps and the voting patterns of those small parties. I mean people like myself couldn't be more dramatically opposed on social issues than say, for example, the Greens. But when it comes to the more burning and prescient issues concerning our everyday lives, such as those three 'shuns' that I was referring to before, then you have a unanimity of opinion and I think that she articulates the rage of that third force better than any other parties. But I agree very strongly with Graeme that she's pulling from all parts of the three-party support.
JENNY BROCKIE: How much of those issues are going to play though, Graeme Morris? I know the Government appears to want to run on issues like security, national security and so on. How much are issues like Telstra and what's happening in the bush and globalisation and so on going to be the issues that the election will be fought on and how much will border protection and security?
GRAEME MORRIS: Look, I don't think there's too much doubt that initially Pauline Hanson was articulating a kind of Ipswich nationalism, and it was attractive to a lot of people. But I think the electorate has moved on, there's no doubt that the next election will be fought on things like economic management, border protection, health, those sorts of things. Look, it's none of my business but if I were Pauline, I'd sort of, if it's not a double dissolution, I would sort of go and have a look at trying to be elected president of the prisoner reform group, or something, that she seems to be keen on at the moment. Now, I think she does have a life outside politics. She's already been beaten a couple of times and, you know, she's not going to get that goodwill that is there now in the ballot box in nine months time.
BOB KATTER: There's no doubt that, you know, there will be a certain dying-off of the issue, but I would still assert that there will be a rage out there and I don't think that Graeme fully understands the nature of how outraged are the people of Australia - and people that were not Pauline Hanson supporters, you know, and they've got to have a way of striking back at the system and, if she runs, she gives them a way of striking back at the system. And I would disagree with Graeme strongly about a sort of Ipswich nationalism. No, there were a lot of chords that she was striking and if Graeme thinks that globalisation, deregulation, privatisation are popular out there, you're living in a different planet than I'm living on. I'm telling you that the rage against those things is real. There is hardly a single person in the country, most certainly in the working class, the employee class, most certainly in the small business class and, in fact, outside of those up the top of the big corporations, I don't think anyone has seen anything else except pain from those - that policy direction, which is coming from the two major political groupings, strongly, you know, from the Liberal Party, National Party, Labor Party.
JENNY BROCKIE: And you think that will translate into votes for Independents across the board and minor parties?
BOB KATTER: I think because she's had the publicity and she's been a martyr for that cause, that that is going to stand her in very good stead and it will mostly certain help all of those third-force parties, ironically enough, even people like the Greens that would violently disagree with her on so many other issues, but those other issues are peripheral issues. The mainstream issues - I mean, when Graeme says economic issues, well, I mean most the people I know and mix with wouldn't say economic issue, they'd say "I want a job, I want to know that I've got a job to go to next week, I want to know that I've got a business next week, I want to know that I've got a farm next week" and there's nobody in this country that can say "I've got security" with any of those things. And that's when he says economic issues, that's how it translates to me, and I think he's right in saying that.
JENNY BROCKIE: Graeme, I wonder whether issues like security and border protection will play as well this time around as they did last time around in the federal election. We've already heard talk last week in relation to the asylum seekers off Melville Is land, that commentators are saying this doesn't have the bite that it had before with the 'Tampa'. Do you think there's a danger with the Coalition in running too hard on security at the expense of maybe things like health and education which Labor will pick up on?
GRAEME MORRIS: Yeah, I don't think they will even try. But I think the difficulty will be that it is going to underlay an entire election year. And whether or not the Government does anything, there will be boats coming in and out there will be refugees trying to come in illegally. Those things are going to generate news irrespective of what the Government does. But I don't think the Government will be setting out to focus on that sort of stuff. But where it becomes awkward is the Labor Party, every time this happens, the Labor Party still has not got an approach. It sort of makes it up as it goes along.
BOB KATTER: Yes, yes, I agree strongly with what Graeme is saying there. The Labor Party has no policy on this.
JENNY BROCKIE: Just one last question to both of you very quickly - if Pauline Hanson runs for the Senate and if One Nation runs for the Senate and runs in particular seats in the next federal election, will it change the political landscape substantially or will it really be on the margins of what's going on, do you think?
GRAEME MORRIS: No, she will generate noise, there's no doubt about that. She is a noise maker. Bob Brown, in the last couple of years, has been left on his own in the Senate to make the noise. I think she will genuinely generate noise. But I think the next election is going to be about hip-pocket stuff, interest rates, economic management, all of that sort of area plus a bit of border protection and I think in that area, those sort of areas, Pauline Hanson gets marginalised and I just don't think she's going to get the support that everyone thinks.
BOB KATTER: I think just the opposite, and I hope just the opposite. I mean, those issues that have bitten so deeply on the working class in Australia, the employee class and the small business class and the farming class, those issues are very, very real, not only in the bush but in the cities, right in the heartland.
GRAEME MORRIS: She's not going to fix interest rates.
BOB KATTER: If free trade goes through, you kiss goodbye to the car manufacturing industry in this country and it looks like we're not going to get any benefits in the bush out of it from everything that I've been reading. So I think that those issues will bite and bite very deeply. Now, unless some 'Tampa' drops out of the sky to rescue the Coalition, they are going to be in incredible trouble here and it will be exacerbated considerably by Pauline being out there, because Graeme is right - she generates attention and if she's got that attention she can direct that attention to those sort of issues with a little bit of coaching from behind.
JENNY BROCKIE: All assuming she runs, of course, which we don't know yet. Thank you, gentlemen, very much for joining Insight tonight.
GRAEME MORRIS: Pleasure, Jenny.