Reciprocating Hanson’s boycott

Apparently, Pauline Hanson and One Nation are refusing to vote for any government legislation until the government intervenes on the side of canegrowers in a dispute with millers and marketers*

Coincidentally, I was considering the question of how to deal with Hanson’s presence in the Senate and came up with the opposite way of implementing the current situation. The major parties should refuse Hanson’s support, and should show this by having four Senators abstain on any bill where One Nation supports their side. Obviously, this isn’t going to happen with the LNP. However rude they may be about Hanson and other ONP members when they say something particularly appalling, ONP is effectively part of the coalition and is being treated as such.

But for Labor, I think the case for shunning One Nation is strong. The arguments for a complete rejection of One Nation’s racism are obvious. The costs would be

(i) In votes where Xenophon went with the LNP and Hanson with Labor and the Greens, this would turn a win into a loss (I think – can someone check)

(ii) Open hostility to One Nation would probably shift some ONP voters to change their second preferences

I don’t think either of these points have a lot of weight. But the self-styled Labor “hardheads” whose brilliant moves have included putting Family First into Parliament and abolishing optional preferential voting in Queensland, just when would help Labor most, will doubtless disagree.

* These disputes have been going on for decades, reflecting the fact that, because sugarcane is costly to transport, growers are very limited in their choice of mills, and millers similarly depend on a relatively small number of growers to keep them in business.. I haven’t looked into the merits of this one

91 thoughts on “Reciprocating Hanson’s boycott

  1. Ikonoclast :
    If PH is afraid of the media and spotlight (although she has ambivalent feelings and loves the attention too) then what drives her to do it?

    That’s an easy one. Follow the money.

  2. @Svante

    The money is important because it means success but there is more, it seems to me, that drives her to be so determined and overcome the fears that Ikon recognises. Perhaps a need to prove something or be somebody that comes from her upbringing.

    David Marr had some interesting things to say about her background in an interview on Late Night Live with Philip Adams today and he acknowledged that it does take considerable bravery to do what she does. He was also sure that she is not on track to increase her following.

  3. @Julie Thomas

    The money is important because it’s easy. Personal planes, personal services, personal staff, parties, personal wardrobe, etc, etc. You don’t get to afford that on marginal/hobby farm income out the back of Ipswich, nor from a battling fish shop super, nor aged pension, and, of course, money is power. There is also money from the moneyed in return for favour. Play the game, hit the jackpot. Fortune favours the brave.

  4. The Sydney Morning Herald published an interesting piece on Hanson in 1996 that was republished in 2014: http :// www .smh.
    I think anyone who claims she is not a racist is deluding themselves.

  5. HED PE :
    … Pauline Hanson was married to a Jew …

    I don’t think that’s right. What makes you think it is? It’s not in David Leser’s article.

  6. Mr Quiggin, you seem to think it is fun to falsely accuse people of being apologists for racism.

    There are two possibilities here.
    + JQ is correct, you are in error and the accusations of racism are not false
    + JQ is in error, you are correct and the accusations of racism are false.

    Either way, the accusations of racism will seem to you to be false. How do you think a person might distinguish between these two situations?

  7. Pauline Hanson is a racist; it is possible to argue that she doesn’t understand that she is a racist but according to the most basic definition of racism – that believing that there are human races is racism – she is a racist.


    Perhaps it is a mistake to follow up on this issue with you. But clearly making money this way is not easy for Pauline Hanson. You are mistaken if you think that people are motivated entirely by money and having personal servants and suchlike.

    Money is power, yes, and it is a lot more than that. Humans are very complex and the things that motivate us are not that easily understood. The idea that wealth explains the motivations of all individuals seems to me to be the basis of libertarian economics that has been so thoroughly discredited.

    I think it is clear that Pauline has a belief system that is not classically libertarian – although she does use bits and pieces from that ideology – and she does exude a sort of sincerity that is apparent to people who are as uneducated and lacking in insight into their own motivations as she is.

  8. From the Leser article:

    “There’s also her eldest son’s grandmother, Hanson’s former mother-in-law, who almost single-handedly raised this son. She is an elderly woman who survived Dachau concentration camp and arrived in Australia with her three-year-old child (Hanson’s first husband) after the war. She is petrified that Hanson wants to have her deported. You can see it in her trembling hands. When asked about this, Hanson declines to comment.”

    I suppose it is from this that the Pea Head discerns that Pauline married a Jew.

  9. @Julie Thomas

    Candidates upon reaching a threshold few percentage points of votes cast are paid various amounts for it by the various electoral commissions around the country. The pay out has an uncertain relationship to the amount actually spent on any candidate’s election campaign. This has been rather important to PH’s personal finances over the years in tiding her over. A nice little earner indeed. The dollars in votes has been a strong motivator. It’s formulaic. Maintain a high profile of a particular kind and there is at least an all but guaranteed threshold number of sympathetic voters. Over the years PH could never lose badly where it counts to her if the spend was tiny (Trump like there). PH routinely got a very nice return for her trouble and pennies. It’s a good reliable earner, a great deal better than a motivating trickle now and then as the wheels spin on the pokies. Play the game, win funding, win the jackpot.

  10. “sugarcane is costly to transport, growers are very limited in their choice of mills, and millers similarly depend on a relatively small number of growers to keep them in business”

    Like John I don’t know the merits of the actual current issue. But from the first time I visited a cane growing area I’ve always wondered about this.

    What would be the actual economies of scale in extracting sugar from cane? Rather low I would have thought (crush the cane, heat it, squeeze it, and dry). Cane is incredibly bulky & so expensive to transport, but raw sugar and molasses not nearly as much. So why aren’t cane growers vertically integrated with a mini-mill on their farm? Or at least part of a really small (say 3 or 4 farms) co-op with a mini-mill?

    Sure you may need Transnational Engulf & Devour Pty Ltd to refine, distribute and market your sugar (and also to buy governments to fend off those pesky anti-diabetes people). But it doesn’t seem the basic economics favours Big Sugar at the raw production end.

  11. @HED PE

    dude give it a rest. You are no match for me whatever you infer that I am. 🙂 And weren’t you blocked? Did you miss that bit? Or what?

  12. @Svante

    I’m not denying that she is making money from her political activities but I am saying that there is more to her than that.

  13. @Julie Thomas
    Yes, there’s more to her, as for anyone else, let alone any schemer. But if it weren’t for the money she’d be doing something else and be all but forgotten, buried as the generations roll on. In fact if it weren’t for the money she probably would never have been heard of in the first instance. The money is number one.

  14. @Julie Thomas
    Note well what happened to the central and avowed position of PHONey on the banks when they came calling to pay their respects, and so quickly too.

  15. HED PE :
    Mr Quiggin, you seem to think it is fun to falsely accuse people of being apologists for racism. Grow up.

    It doesn’t seem to me that John Quiggin thinks it’s fun. I don’t understand what makes it seem that way to you.

  16. @Svante

    Yes I’ll agree to that. If there was no money involved she wouldn’t be doing it but this is not a productive way to combat her influence with her fans.

    Although there is probably no way to combat the adulation of her core followers and/or the likes of Ashby who are helping her for their own reasons that again are not all about money; but for sure none of them would be doing it if not for the money.

  17. @Julie Thomas
    Just for the record: although (unsurprisingly) there were some Jewish prisoners at Dachau, most of the prisoners there were not Jews and so the fact that the mother of Pauline Hanson’s first husband was a Dachau survivor is not sufficient reason to conclude that he was a Jew.

  18. @Julie Thomas

    From her position it’s actually lots of money, and access to lots more. To her useful idiots she’s seen as a tool to get their issues up, and they, like the banks, pay… er, pay their respects.

    “…not a productive way to combat her influence with her fans”

    Don’t call it too soon. There may be a way. One thing the majority of her fans are agitated greatly by is money, their own hard graft vs the many they perceive to be on the take. It likely keeps them awake at night. If/when she’s exposed as the grifter she’s become they’ll start screaming. The screaming to be heard in WA carries only faintly across to Queensland presently. Queensland PHONey supporters seem to have been deaf to it. Give it time.

  19. When it comes to One Nation, the focus on Pauline Hanson is understandable, but let’s not sleep on her No 2, the incomparable Malcolm Roberts. Yesterday in the Parliament in the 18C debate Senator Roberts, in what was arguably a racist rant, said 18C protects Muslim criminals:

    “If your Muslim Sudanese neighbour is engaging in female genital mutilation or your Syrian Muslim cafe owner is a terrorist building a bomb or maybe just the Afghan Muslims in the public housing flat next to you are molesting small children, chances are that you are afraid to speak out.”

    “Ordinary, decent people are simply afraid to speak the truth.”

    “We want to be able to call out Muslim drug dealers, child mutilators, hate preachers, terrorists and perverts.”

    He then went on to describe Greens as “koala-hugging commos”, which at least was alliterative.

    Congratulations, Queenslanders. Your elected representatives are truly a national adornment.

  20. @Smith

    Some seven hundred voted for Roberts. How many voted for, say, Larissa Waters?

    In recent years the numbers of various new arrivals from those ethnic groups have risen sharply in the suburbs about here. Seven days a week in the late afternoons the newly renovated neighbourhood small park across from me now fills fit to burst with hundreds of kids and many parents engaged in what looks very much like recreation, sport, games, and fun. It’s a little over crowded for my taste, but despite the relative number no problem at all, not even litter. Judging by the girls’ and womens’ dress, on more than half the days most groups are predominantly of Muslim persuasion. The groups that annoy come after midnight from more established earlier arrivals including but not only Anglos; vandalism, litter, broken glass, boom boxes, yelling, drinking, and basketballs at 3:00am!

  21. @Smith

    Well “koala cuddling commos” would have been even more alliterative. 😉

    Alt-righties and righties in general love to abuse and denigrate don’t they? I use their methods a little sometimes and refer to them as “right wing wreckers” because they continually wreck the real opportunities of our economy and our society. That’s quite mild of course compared to right-wing vitriol. I notice that right-wing vitriol is so often directed at people who care about things and about animals and about people; indeed who care about anything except themselves. Clearly to the right-wingers to care is in itself and weak except of course for caring about yourself solely especially in terms of wealth and power by which metric the y measure everything. Being and acting like that is double plus good according to the righties.

  22. Malcolm Roberts says that, “Ordinary, decent people are simply afraid to speak the truth.”

    He is saying that Australians are such wimps that they can’t call child services or the police if they think the people next door are harming their children or making bombs?

    Or are these thoughts the sort that The Tom Waits song “What’s he Building” is about?

  23. So, let’s see. According to Roberts:

    Sudanese people genitally mutilate girls;
    Syrians are terrorists; and
    Afghans are child molesters.

    According to Pauline Hanson:

    Aboriginal people are not disadvantaged – they are just welfare bludgers;
    Asians are swamping Australia;
    Africans bring diseases like AIDS into Australia; and
    Muslims are also swamping Australia and Halal certification is a terrorist plot.

    But it’s OK. They’re not racists. These aren’t the droids you’re looking for. Move along, move along.

  24. Premise 1: Ordinary decent people are afraid to speak the truth.
    Premise 2: Malcolm Roberts is not afraid to speak the truth.
    Conclusion: ? Left as an exercise for the reader.

  25. @Tim Macknay

    The rich irony is that if Roberts says these things outside Parliament then under 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act he could be nailed for being offensive to Sudanese, Syrians or Afghans, but not for being offensive to Muslims – at least not until someone runs and wins a case arguing that giving offence to Muslims as such is offensive behaviour on the basis of “race, colour, national or ethnic origin.”

  26. Tim Macknay

    Many moons ago Pauline Hanson said Asian immigration was too high and their were subsequently some integration issues at a time when John Howard and the historian Geoffrey Blainey were making similar claims. Such claims may be motivated by racism but they could just as easily be a pragmatic observation about different ethnicities not mixing and getting along (Hutu v Tutsi, Serb v Croat, Armenian v Turk etc …). I see Pauline Hanson being smeared as racist but I have not seen any concrete evidence. If you are still having trouble may I suggest you ponder the motivations of a black academic railing against white privilege. Do you think the motivation of such a person is necessarily racist or do you think a more charitable interpretation is just as plausible if not more so? Remember Tim, nuance is not a four letter word.

  27. Germaine Steiner :Tim Macknay
    If you are still having trouble may I suggest you ponder the motivations of a black academic railing against white privilege. Do you think the motivation of such a person is necessarily racist or do you think a more charitable interpretation is just as plausible if not more so?

    What then are the motivations of white pollies PH&Co railing against black privilege? Name some more charitable interpretations than opportunistic racism.

  28. @derrida derider

    According to the website of the Australian Sugar Milling Council, Australia has 4,400 cane farming “entities” covering 380,000 hectares and producing up to 35 million tonnes of sugarcane per year. These supply 24 mills owned by seven companies. Average output per farming entity would thus be up to about 8,000 tonnes per year; the average family farm would presumably produce less than this. The average mill would process about 1.46 million tonnes per year, with one mill per 183 farms. Wikipedia reports the yearly capacity of 15 of the mills; they range from 0.7 million to 3.74 million tonnes.

    This paper, ‘Economies of scale in sugar milling’, uses data from Queensland sugar mills to estimate cost curves:

    Click to access 41-69.pdf

    The catch is that it’s from 1969. For what it’s worth, it reports that average costs are minimised at about one million tonnes per year (footnote nine, page 46), though it cautions that average costs may not really increase beyond this scale. Cost increases are relatively moderate down to about 250,000 tonnes (figure four, page 45), which would correspond to the output of 31 farms, but costs are still over 1.5 times the minimum. A mill processing 80,000 tonnes—the output of ten farms—would have costs over five times those of the cost-minimising mill.

  29. I see Pauline Hanson being smeared as racist but I have not seen any concrete evidence.


    Racism -> irrationality, by definition.
    “A Racist” -> person bound by racism -> person bound by their irrationality.
    A person’s choices -> choices taken according to their understanding of what’s reasonable -> irrational choices taken do not appear obviously distinct from other choices taken, from the inside.

    If you are bound by your own racism, you won’t be able to tell from inside your own skull. Your racist choices and priorities would appear to you just, sensible, and normal. But this also extends to your assessment of other people; an other person’s choices that match your [irrational] choices will appear to you to be just/sensible/normal the same way your own choices do.

    So. If you’re racist in the same way that pauline hanson is racist, then the “concrete evidence” of pauline hanson’s racism will appear to you to not be concrete evidence of racism but, y’know, normal and sensible.

    [this is an a-fortiori result of “people don’t in general know why or how they’re wrong”; there’s no big red flag saying “you’re making a mistake” when someone tells you about them. More self-doubt and humility is needed here; less assumptions that you’ll be able to avoid mistakes or that your inability to see something that others claim to see demonstrates the falsity of that claim. Not that I’m actually saying you’re racist, but I can tell you that you don’t/can’t know.]

  30. In A New Daily article, I find that Hanson’s definition of racism is “….to believe your race to be superior to another.” and that is what she claims that she has “never, ever said that.”

    Chinese Australian Forum President Kenrick Cheah said “Pauline’s definition of racism is a bit too narrow” and ““She might think there’s a very narrow definition, but it’s the effect of her words in the community that constitutes racism.”

    As well as that, it seems to me that it is implicit in her comments about other groups of people that she does believe that she and her ‘race’ are in fact superior to others. I’d like to understand what ‘race’ she thinks she belongs to. The white race perhaps?

    Perhaps Germaine could tell me what race she belongs to and how we are not superior to other races.

    Hanson says “I’ve had racist comments said to me. But I let it go over the top of my head. It’s water off a duck’s back,”.

    She is unable to see that these insults do not bother her because she is certain that she is from the ‘superior’ race. But she reasons – in her own irrational way – that they don’t bother her because she is a superior person and one who is capable of understanding what is good for this country.

    She is unable to understand that the effect of insults are very different on people who do know that they are regarded as inferior by a cohort of ignorant Australians who were raised to think of themselves as the best and quite clearly the superior race and/or civilisation.

  31. And Charlene, about different ethnicity not getting along.

    There used to be a lot of this sort of thing in Australian soccer but people got over it; that is what the Australian way of life is all about.

    It is all about giving people a space where they can get over the problems in their own country that leads them to want to come to a place where they can lead a better life and all happy and healthy people want to contribute to making the place they live an even better place.

    Some of these people are refugees who come from war zones that we can be held responsible for creating, and they need support and understanding for them to be able to contribute. Of course we could stop messing with their borders and bombing them and repair the damage that colonialism did to their cultures and that would reduce the numbers of refugees.

    The intolerant attitude and unwarranted belief in your own superiority that you and your racist cohort have contributes to the problems these people have and makes it more likely that they or their children will not want to be part of the Australian way of life that they see and experience as racist.

  32. @Germaine Steiner
    Your comment drove home for me the truth of JQ’s remark a while back that the only real political correctness in Australia is that nobody’s allowed to call anyone a racist. I’m still bemused at the number of people who want to insist that Pauline Hanson’s repeated generalised attacks on various minority racial and ethnic groups are not racist, either because of a more ‘nuanced’ reading that gives a less odious interpretation of her statements, or through the claim that a particular sort of mens rea is required for a statement to be construed as racist, which Hanson lacks.

    I’m reminded a bit of a former commenter on this blog, Ivor (now banned), who was a fan of the American geopolitics commentator Paul Craig Roberts. Ivor wanted to claim that Robert’s repeated declarations that world war 3 was imminent were actually sober, nuanced analyses of the geopolitical scene. In order to do that, he had to consciously ignore a large part of what Roberts actually wrote.

    I think that if one is going to claim that, say, Pauline Hanson’s remarks about Asians in her 1996 maiden speech (which she has not resiled from, as she confirmed in 2016) are not a generalised attack on people of Asian descent, but instead, a more ‘nuanced’ commentary on the risks of too rapid a change in the ethnic mix a la Geoffrey Blainey, then one has to perform a similar sort of trick as Ivor, or otherwise engage in a species of doublethink. Hence my statement earlier in the thread that anyone who claims that Pauline Hanson is not a racist is deluding themselves.

  33. Prof Q, I have a comment in moderation. I assure you it does not contain anything inflammatory or contrary to the comments policy.

  34. Germaine Steiner, I have a comment in automod – the gist of it is as follows. I confess I’m bemused at your and others’ determination to protect Pauline Hanson from being tarred with the ‘r’ word. It confirms for me the truth of Professor Quiggin’s observation that the only real political correctness in Australia is that you’re not allowed to call anyone a r-cist. It seems to me that to give Ms Hanson’s various attacks on different racial and ethnic groups the relatively innocuous construction you suggest, it would be necessary to ignore significant parts of what she has said, and their tone, not to mention their effects.

  35. so the gist seems to be whether agricultural producers (of whatever) have control over the disposal of their produce?

  36. as for racism, it seems to be ground into a basic fear of strangers.

    and often goes both ways.

    familiarity, minus strict separation policies, allowing communication without having to put up with
    preaching superiority in ones’ personal space seems to have worked reasonably well in OZ.

    i personally think P H is doing a sort of back handed service to the country in bringing the festering subject into focus.

    and into discussion.

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