THE major parties aren’t listening and Australians are looking for alternatives, says One Nation founder and now NSW Senate candidate Pauline Hanson.
Ms Hanson was in Tamworth yesterday as part of a tour through the North West that began at AgQuip on Wednesday.
She’s criss-crossing the state in a bid to reach as many NSW communities as she can before the September 7 election – and the second-most famous redhead in Australian politics says the response has been overwhelming.
“(People's) support means so much to me,” she said.
“It’s wonderful that people trust you and want you to help them.”
One Nation’s number one Senate candidate maintains Labor and the Coalition have deserted the people they’re meant to serve and is no fan of the party leaders, including former prime minister and the nation’s most famous redhead, Julia Gillard.
“I’m being told by people I meet they don’t want to vote for either (party), they feel they have no choice and they’re sick of hearing the same old rhetoric,” Ms Hanson said.
It’s the reason a number of other parties have sprung up in the lead-up to this election, she said, joining The Greens and One Nation in trying to become a legitimate third party force in Australian politics.
Her passion for what she believes in can’t be denied as witnessed when asked why she’d decided to throw her hat back in the ring after such a tumultuous political career that ended the last time with a three-year jail sentence for electoral fraud in 2003, overturned later that year by the Queensland Court of Appeal.
Her voice quavers and the tears come as she says even out of political life, people have never stopped coming to her appealing for assistance.
She says she wants to stand up for them and believes she’s still got a lot to offer in terms of policy and perseverance.
“What’s upsetting is the fact (the major parties) aren’t listening. They have no idea how much people are hurting ... and don’t understand their policies are destroying lives,” Ms Hanson said.
She says she “hates” Labor and the Coalition for what they’re doing to the country, but is slightly bemused the Coalition has adopted some of her policies while at the same time still describing her as “racist”.
“You show me one of my policies that’s racist,” Ms Hanson said.
Water security (“I challenge Barnaby Joyce to fight for farmers on this”), manufacturing (“throwing millions at the car industry isn’t the answer”), job creation (“more government assistance for businesses to employ apprentices”) and getting young Australians into their own homes (“up to the age of 38 you could access your super to help buy a home”) are among her ideas.
Immigration, multiculturalism and asylum seekers, issues that got her into trouble in the early days of One Nation, are still there, too, and she’s unapologetic for her views.
Labor and the Coalition, she says, have even borrowed some of her views for their latest take on “stopping the boats”.
She maintains her priority is to look after Australians first and that she welcomes overseas immigrants who arrive in Australia through the right channels.
While some might still hold to the myth of One Nation supporters being right-wing white Caucasians, she said the reality was support for her came from people of all nationalities.
Ms Hanson, who says this will be her final bid for federal Parliament, has a good chance after 13 small right-wing parties put her high on their tickets for the NSW Senate.
While the Coalition, Labor and Greens all put her last, Ms Hanson stands to win preferences from parties that won 8 per cent of the NSW vote in 2010.