(Cartoon by Bruce Keogh/ keoghcartoons.com.au)

In this exclusive interview with Pauline Hanson, she gives a little insight into her recent breakdown on Sky News.

JOURNALIST: Ms Hanson, your old familiar smile has returned after your recent tearful meltdown on Sky News. You were upset, claiming your One Nation Senator Brian Burston had stabbed you "in the back" for supporting the Coalition Government's company tax cut policy.

HANSON: Yes, I am ecstatic over that performance. It was cameo Hollywood material wasn’t it? Brian had betrayed me despite his claims to the contrary. He maintains I had been contrary on the issue. Contrariness is my prerogative.

JOURNALIST: You are ecstatic. Why?

HANSON: Since that appearance, my staff phones have been running hot in sympathy and support of me.  

JOURNALIST: And contrariness is your prerogative?

HANSON: I love to keep my opponents on their toes. It keeps them second-guessing on what I will do next. It destabilises them and I love that. I especially love the power of blackmailing the major parties on my preference flow decisions.

JOURNALIST: So, your Sky News meltdown was a charade masquerading as tears of betrayal?

HANSON: No, it was not. I have built my career on betrayal and I am so passionate about it. Betrayal is my mantra. I get very emotional about it sometimes.

JOURNALIST: Ms Hanson, you are unbelievable.

HANSON: Thank you.

JOURNALIST: How can betrayal be a mantra to live by as a politician?

HANSON: It reinforces my appeal to the support base I have cultivated — those poor disaffected souls who feel betrayed by the establishment. Pauline Hanson can do no wrong as far as they are concerned. Tears on television keep my fans right with me. They love to hate anything and anybody that or who offends me – even if they are my own One Nation parliamentarians – and there have been many of them.

JOURNALIST: So now we have now moved from betrayal to hatred, have we not?

HANSON: Australians either love me or hate me and most hate me. That’s great! The more I am hated, the more my core supporters rally behind me.

JOURNALIST: How can you expect to be a political force by being hated by the majority of Australians?

HANSON: You underestimate the magnitude of the minority that I represent. I have appealed to its prejudices and won Hansonites in droves. You cannot deny I have been a very powerful and disruptive force in Australian politics for many years. Call it divisive populism if you want.

JOURNALIST: I will call it divisive populism. You have a reputation for it. Xenophobia, in your case, is the most notable example.

HANSON: Nick Xenophon doesn’t bother me one iota. Hey, that was funny wasn’t it? But Asians and Muslims do bother me.

JOURNALIST: This is no laughing matter. You treat the political system with contempt. Your burqa stunt in the Senate was contemptible.

HANSON: So you hate me, too? Thank you. You are doing me a great service. My fans will love this.

JOURNALIST: You represent a shrinking minority party, yet you so often speak as if you represent all Australians. In that Sky News interview you said, “I'm sorry to the Australian people that this is happening again.

HANSON: That’s the art of populism I have perfected — acting as if I symbolise the nation. My supporters feel that I speak for them as a united national force. I capitalise on their sense of alienation by the major parties. I epitomise the Australia they want: a proud country of xenophobes and homophobes, which abhors saying “sorry” to Aborigines and denies human-induced climate change. It’s a great vote winner and my support base grows with it.

JOURNALIST: You proudly represent the redneck element of Australian society, do you not?

HANSON: There is nothing wrong with rednecks — or redheads for that matter.

JOURNALIST: By saying, “…that this is happening again”, were you referring to the implosion of One Nation in the 1990s or your Senate disintegration since the 2016 election?

HANSON: Both.

JOURNALIST: Ms Hanson, do you ever wonder whether your leadership style has been at fault?

HANSON: Never.

JOURNALIST: Your party is again in tatters. Why are you smiling?

HANSON: There are five by-elections looming after the citizenship fiasco. I cannot afford to look like a loser.

JOURNALIST: But you looked like a loser on Sky News.

HANSON: I have already told you, I am a great actress. My phones have been running hot in support of me. My stocks have risen so much that I am going to have a big impact on those by-election results. I know company tax cuts are very unpopular with the electorate. That’s why I put on such a stellar performance over Senator Burston backing them.

JOURNALIST: But you flip-flopped many times on the company tax issue.

HANSON: So I made that cameo performance to remove all doubt — to get as much publicity as possible on where I finally stand.

JOURNALIST: There was method in your madness after all!

HANSON: What madness?

JOURNALIST: Do you believe in company tax cuts, or do you not?

HANSON: What I believe in is none of your business — or anybody else’s for that matter. Suffice to say, I believe in anything that advances my credibility as a divisive populist of unbelievable stature.

JOURNALIST: Ms Hanson, you are inexplicable.

HANSON: Please explain?

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