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Pauline Hanson and the Rise and Fall of the Radical Right in Australia

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In this paper Deutchman examines the rise and fall of the radical right in the late 1990s in Australia. In particular, she focuses on the rise and fall of Pauline Hanson's One Nation party. In 1996 an obscure backbencher named Pauline Hanson was elected to the federal parliament. From the moment she made her first speech in September of that year she was rarely off the nation's front pages. By April 1997 she started her own political party, One Nation. By July 1998 her party was able to win an astonishing 23 per cent of the vote in the Queensland state election. And by October 1998 she lost her own seat in Parliament and saw her party's fortunes decline. Deutchman examines various theories which have attempted to explain the rise of radical-right parties in Europe and the United States in order to understand the Australian case. Notably, she argues that the convergence of the two major parties, the Coalition and the Australian Labor Party, provides the setting in which the emergence of a radical-right party becomes more likely. Such a party often emerges when the two major parties are centre-right ones, as is the case in Australia. In most countries research has shown that it is difficult for a radical-right party to do well nationally. Indeed, this has been true in Australia. Despite the fact that One Nation has lost much of its electoral support, Deutchman argues that it is premature to write off the radical right in Australia.

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Keywords: Australia; One Nation; Pauline Hanson; ethnocentrism; extremism; multiculturalism; radical right

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York, USA

Publication date: 2000-01-01

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