One Nation’s performance in the Western Australian state election can be described using words such as “satisfactory” and “adequate”, terms encapsulating the current popular opinion that the party performed well, but not as well as its supporters hoped. While a more independent One Nation may have performed better, Pauline Hanson has always been guided by what she thought was best for the party. Of course, this sort of objective analysis is too much to expect from both the mainstream media and politicians, both of whom gleefully used One Nation’s result as an opportunity to harass its leader even more.
Senator Richard Di Natale used the typically smug yet inherently sly response expected of a Greens leader. On Sky News Di Natale virtue signalled against the Liberals by blaming its preference deal with the “racist and bigoted” One Nation as the main factor causing its downfall. Other than the fact that Di Natale’s newfound concern with the Liberal Party comes with its fair share of suspicions to the politically mindful citizen, the latter will also know that the Greens leader is obviously flaunting his typical out-of-touch opinions to the public.
Mathias Cormann, to his credit, defended the preference deal with One Nation and said the result was to be expected. People’s disappointment with the Liberal Party in general is a given, and obviously played a role in the election result. Yet the main reasons were more specific to the state of Western Australia rather than any federal issues.
The reason the Liberal Party lost was because Western Australians wanted a change in government in sync with its changing economic circumstances. The state is currently facing a stalled mining boom, and the resulting public opposition to privatisation along with a desire to see change for the sake of change were the main reasons the state’s voters to choose the alternative major party. The Labor alternative itself is relatively moderate in comparison to its federal and other state counterparts, at least based on the campaign. Only time will tell whether that will hold true or like other Labor governments will turn radically to the left.
But now it’s time for One Nation to meaningfully reflect upon this turn of events and focus on being more independent in the future. While the mainstream media is celebrating inside its studio echo-chambers thinking they’ve waged a successful war against Pauline, the real cause of yesterday’s results are clear for ordinary Australians.
It is a known fact that, despite the media’s exaggerations, many One Nation supporters felt disillusioned by its preference deal with the Liberals, as One Nation candidate for Baldivis, John Zurakowski, told the Unshackled during its WA election livestream, “There was a few people that were not happy with what happened with the deal with the Liberal Party, however majority of the candidates were understanding of how preferences work and they knew that it only benefited them.”
Zurakowski, the youngest One Nation candidate in the election, went on to describe voters who admitted to him their disappointment with the deal, which influenced their aversion of voting for One Nation. This is understandable, as many voters found it disagreeable for One Nation to break bread with the Liberals, who have so consistently attacked the party by caving in to the leftist rhetoric wrongly condemning One Nation as racist or Fascist. The Liberals have been as vocal as its leftist opponents in criticising One Nation based on false media portrayals and left-wing bias. But it is important to remember that the deal was thought to benefit the party, despite that not doing so in reality.
And what where people expecting? A preference deal with Labor? It is simply irresponsible and ignorant to attack One Nation’s preference deal by using Labor as an alternative. John agreed, “It would be silly to put the Labor Party above the Liberal Party because the Labor Party were our major competitors”. It is also useful to know that the economic stances of One Nation and the Liberal Party overlap in many ways, including their staunch anti-regulation attitude and overall capitalist-oriented outlook. Their protectionism is only one slice of the pie. To those who condemn One Nation as Socialist, it should be pointed out that its protectionist characteristics and anti-privatisation policies are not necessarily left-wing, as the original right also promoted such policies.
However, it should be admitted that the preference deal was mainly unsuccessful due to the perception it had with voters. While Pauline explained her decision as one influenced by what’s good for the party, her use of Sky News to carry out such explanations was insufficient, as most ordinary Australians were left unaware and instead resorted to judging the deal on face value. Zurakowski himself agreed that the manner in which the preference deal was communicated to voters was not well thought out. He said, “Honestly, the way Pauline should’ve worded it to the public is, look, she’s created a preference list that’s going to give One Nation candidates the best possible chance of getting a seat in Parliament”.
But why did we not see a Trump effect this time? What of One Nation’s anti-privatisation stances? Surely that should’ve provided it with some leverage, along with its comprehensive policy on the state’s crime problems. But it didn’t, and that can be attributed to its status as a minor party. The people wanted change, but they also wanted a major party. The Trump effect cannot reliably be used as a benchmark because while Trump represented change and led a major party, Pauline possessed the former and not the latter. In combination with a controversial preference deal, this formula did not allow One Nation to gain a victory as large as what we hoped.
In contrast, the Labor Party had what Pauline had and more. It vehemently opposed the privatisation of government assets, was a major party, and had a 186 page booklet outlining its policies in comparison to One Nation’s six website pages. Yes, some of One Nation’s campaign tactics should be criticised. A repetition of its federal campaign was simply not enough, people wanted more. Fortunately, One Nation will give them more next time.
The fact that a few One Nation candidates betrayed the party and criticised Pauline Hanson helped allow the media to spin the line that One Nation was unorganised and disunited. This election also shows the mainstream media still holds incredible sway over the voters. It is clear us in the alternative media need to do more to get the truth out there to ordinary people.
This election is an election of lessons, for both One Nation and the Liberal Party. The Liberals should know better than to attack a fellow right-wing party, many of whose policies it should try and embrace. Thanks to its triggered rampage against Pauline, the preference deal proved to be incompatible among the voters. One Nation itself should place confidence on its independent right-wing identity instead of using preference deals as a method of securing more seats. This was not very obvious to many of us, but the result of the election has shown us that One Nation is a party that does better on its own during adversity, rather than sharing the load with failing major parties.