Pauline Hanson shouldn’t escape the consequences of what she did by agreeing to a preference deal with the Liberal Party in WA.
She abandoned her entire ethos of being different to the two major parties and sold out her candidates.
And the way she tried to throw the blame for the deal gone sour at the feet of the Liberals on election night was breathtaking.
“Actually doing the deal with the Libs has done damage to us,” Senator Hanson told Channel 7’s Mark Riley.
“We are going to have a good look at this. I don’t think it was really the Liberal Party, I think it was Colin Barnett. The people here didn’t want Colin Barnett. It’s like when you’ve got milk in your fridge and it’s starting to go sour you throw it out, and that’s what they should have done with Colin Barnett.”
This revelation from a politician, who weeks ago flew to Perth and said repeatedly the message she was hearing from WA voters was that Mr Barnett was on the nose so badly that his Government would be thrown out.
So Senator Hanson knew he was toxic, still did the deal and is now feigning surprise.
What a cop-out. What howling hypocrisy.
It wasn’t just Canberra watching how One Nation went in the State election at the weekend. It was anyone around the world convinced that the sort of cheap populism Senator Hanson throws up is the new dominant force in world politics.
Fortunately, West Australians didn’t lose their minds and bucked the global trend.
A relative in Britain sent me a pre-election piece penned by a reporter from the BBC that talked about the power of Senator Hanson and the need for the major political parties to get cosy with One Nation.
“Once reviled for her views on Asian immigration and Aboriginal welfare, Pauline Hanson is being courted by mainstream politicians as the populist wave reshaping the world’s liberal democracies laps at Australian shores,” the BBC wrote.
What happened to the One Nation vote in WA — collapsing to below 5 per cent overall — will hopefully bring the Liberal Party back to its senses.
Senior party figures can pretend all they like that the main reason for the Libs’ crushing defeat in WA was the longevity of the Barnett Government rather than the poison brought with the One Nation deal, but they ignore a salient fact.
The preference deal dominated the discourse around the campaign.
No ifs, buts or maybes. It just did.
Saturday’s result might have been dire regardless of the deal, but the preference agreement denied the Liberals a chance of prosecuting any case it might have had for re-election.
To say the deal didn’t matter displays an appalling arrogance and those senior people repeating the desperate defence of it should stand aside from their roles as party elders.
Party president Norman Moore said yesterday he wouldn’t be resigning despite the annihilation.
Another senior Liberal, who approved the desperate deal because the party’s internal polling had the primary vote dropping below 29 per cent some months back, argued that Mr Barnett ate a “s… sandwich” for his party because nothing was going to save him.
Nothing could be done? Seriously? With all the resources, power and marketing grunt within government, nothing could be done? What’s the name of the river that runs through Egypt?
How about some kind of vision around job creation in WA when the bottom was falling out the employment market? Labor came up with one 13 months back.
How about a succession plan that might have regenerated the party and offered WA a new face?
For example, if the Premier didn’t think Liza Harvey was enough of an all-rounder to take over from him, why didn’t he slot her into an economic portfolio so she could improve her CV?
Labor leader and soon-to-be premier Mark McGowan quite rightly took the high moral ground during his victory speech in Rockingham.
“Today, West Australians voted for hope and opportunity over desperation and division,” he said. “Today, we showed we are a State of decency and intelligence, not a State of stupidity and ignorance.
“Today, as always, West Australians showed the way for the rest of the country.”
Queensland, are you listening?
I’ll end with more from the flame-haired senator from Queensland on election night to prove how irrational her mind can be.
Confronted by the outcome of her disastrous venture into WA politics during this election, she’ll try to spin it just like any other politician who can’t handle the truth.
“It’s the start for people throughout the country to see that One Nation really is the party to represent them, to bring accountability, honesty and integrity,” she dribbled on Saturday night.
“To keep the major parties honest and there for the people. All the people want is a voice.”
A voice that doesn’t say one thing and do the other.