An incredibly influential part of society is the political sphere. Political figures are extremely influential on the citizens of their own countries, and around the globe. This blog post will examine the effect that political figures have on individuals in enticing Islamophobia through discussing the actions of Australian politician, Pauline Hanson.
Pauline Hanson is an Australian politician and leader of the One Nation Party. The Senator’s party rose to popularity following the federal election in 2016, winning “593,013 first preference votes for the Senate” (Boyle, 2016, p.5). The rise in the party’s popularity can be attributed to the moral panic of Islam in Australia as many fearful Australian’s were attracted to her outspoken nature and far-right values. Her bigoted views and hate-speech prove the discrimination of Muslim people in a complete disrespect for their cultural and religious values.
While doing research on this topic, I noticed that Hanson’s One Nation Party has an entire webpage on their website that is dedicated to Islam, in an attempt to educate their followers about the religion and how they would respond to the ‘issue’ in their policies. Such acts include stopping Muslim immigration and taking in Muslim refugees, banning the Burqa, installing surveillance cameras in mosques, stopping the construction of mosques, and banning Halal certification (Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, 2015). Hanson would also call to change Section 116 of the Australian Constitution which entails that the Commonwealth cannot intervene in prohibiting the exercise of religion (Australian Constitution, 1901). These policies not only show a lack of understanding of Muslims and their values in Australia, but it proves the discrimination of the entire religion and fuels the alienation of Muslims in Australia.
Similarly, her rhetoric on Muslim people incites hate, as she claimed while speaking in the Senate: “I suggest you go back where you came from…I will take you to the airport and wave you goodbye” (Hanson on 7 News, 2016), while also expressing her erratic views: “Have no doubt that we will be living under Sharia law and treated as second class citizens with second class rights” (Hanson on 7 News, 2016).
Hanson’s hate-fuelled speech and irrational views on the future of Muslim people in Australia not only ignites the moral panic of Islamophobia but is incredibly damaging and alienating for Muslim Australians.
Australian Constitution 1901, ‘Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act- SECT 116’, Commonwealth Consolidated Acts, viewed 12 May 2017, <http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/coaca430/s116.html>.
Boyle, P. 2016, ‘Hanson and the legitimisation of racism’, Green Left Weekly, no.1107, viewed 12 May 2017, <http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=297771957902891;res=IELHSS>.
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation 2015, ‘Islam’, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, viewed 12 May 2017, <http://www.onenation.com.au/policies/islam>.
7 News 2016, ‘Pauline Hanson says, “now we are in danger of being swamped by Muslims”’, online video, YouTube, viewed 12 May 2017, <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a186IAxXW0U>.