Australia's national election has produced a shattering victory for the governing coalition dominated by the Liberal party led by John Howard. His third victory in a row, the largest swing to an existing government in 35 years, and quite unexpected six months ago. He did it by attacking immigration.
Howard's previous weakness on the issue had encouraged a "Camp of the Saints" type invasion of Boat People. To the surprise of many observers Howard defended his country, which rallied to him. Australia's political elite is chewing this over thoughtfully.
Uncredited with this dramatic reversal is the heroine of Australian politics—Pauline Hanson. Unfortunately defeated–but not humiliated–in her effort to win a Senate seat, Hanson is the lady fired as a candidate from Howard's party in 1995 for making negative comments on immigration. (She won as an independent and founded the One Nation party.) Without her example, it may be doubted the Liberal Party mediocrities would have had the wit to realize what a powerful issue had arisen. Without her threat, they would almost certainly not had the courage to seize it.
This is usually what happens to immigration reform parties when the major entity next to it on the political spectrum decides to steal its policies. Perhaps one has to choose between influencing policy and personal advancement—between patriotism and profit.
But VDARE has faith. Howard is a weak man, lacking the steel to withstand the sneers of the New York Times. Australia will need the services of Pauline Hanson, or her like, again.
Australians make up a disproportionately large part of this Web site's foreign readership. We welcome their comments.
November 10, 2001