The former member of parliament is going to spent some time in New Zealand and then wants to settle in the UK, where she is eligible for citizenship due to her parents being born there.
According to this news story, the One Nation Party founder thinks Australia has changed too much for her liking. "Sadly, the land of opportunity is no more applicable," she said. Of course, Australia has given Pauline opportunities to get elected and spend some time on Dancing with the Stars.
In any case, I won't be at all sad to see her go.
Hanson's meteoric rise to fame began when she ran as a Liberal Party Candidate for the Queensland seat of Oxley, winning the seat as part of the massive swing towards the Coalition in 1996. However she was disendorsed by her party mid-campaign after her comments criticising the amount of welfare received by Aborigines. She won the seat as an independent, but since she was still mistakenly listed as a Liberal on ballots, it is hard to say whether her success was due to her comments on race.
Here is an excerpt from her maiden speech to parliament:
Immigration and multiculturalism are issues that this government is trying to address, but for far too long ordinary Australians have been kept out of any debate by the major parties. I and most Australians want our immigration policy radically reviewed and that of multiculturalism abolished. I believe we are in danger of being swamped by Asians. Between 1984 and 1995, 40 per cent of all migrants coming into this country were of Asian origin. They have their own culture and religion, form ghettos and do not assimilate. Of course, I will be called racist but, if I can invite whom I want into my home, then I should have the right to have a say in who comes into my country. A truly multicultural country can never be strong or united. The world is full of failed and tragic examples, ranging from Ireland to Bosnia to Africa and, closer to home, Papua New Guinea. America and Great Britain are currently paying the price. Arthur Calwell was a great Australian and Labor leader, and it is a pity that there are not men of his stature sitting on the opposition benches today. Arthur Calwell said: Japan, India, Burma, Ceylon and every new African nation are fiercely anti-white and anti one another. Do we want or need any of these people here? I am one red-blooded Australian who says no and who speaks for 90% of Australians. I have no hesitation in echoing the words of Arthur Calwell.
(Caldwell is better known for his infamous joke to parliament that "Two Wongs don't make a white.")
Hanson only lasted one term in office as the major parties all did their to ruin her chances by directing their preferences away from her. It also hurt her chances that the Coalition had started adopting policies which were Hansonesque. As the overall political climate shifted in a right-wing populist direction, Hanson was no longer the maverick she had initially been. It was one of John Howard's Machiavellian masterstrokes as PM - to strongly denounce Hanson's xenophobia, yet then proceed to copy that same quality - but it also remains a stain on his legacy in office, which Australia's race relations have not really recovered from.
Perhaps the lesson to be learned from the Pauline Hanson story is the danger of dismissing the rumblings of the ignorant. The reaction of the nation's media and political parties was to ridicule Hanson for her regressive views on race and her lack of intelligence in the usual political sense. Which is understandable, because mocking the stupid and ignorant is irresistable.
But like it or not, Hanson represented a lot of people who were fearful of change and fearful of difference. They admired her for her open racism (or as they would call it, being un-PC). She represented people who no longer trusted politicians and so were attracted to a candidate they saw themselves in. The phenomenon has parallels with the appeal of George W Bush and Sarah Palin in the USA; intelligence in politicians is viewed with suspicion, as something associated with "the elites", and it's more important just to believe the right things.
Do I think we were wrong to treat Hanson with such contempt and ridicule? Perhaps. Not that I think she is undeserving of such treatment. But it is hard to argue that the rise of "political correctness" (as a real and often imagined phenomenon) also gave rise to a backlash, of which Hanson was one manifestation. Is that the inevitable cost of keeping hateful discourse out of the public arena? Perhaps. But I also wonder if it is the consequence of a policy of multiculturalism that no one really understands, and therefore makes a convenient bogeyman for fearmongers to rail against. Perhaps we need to have a multiculturalism that exists within more clearly defined boundaries, and is easier for all Australians - including those who would vote for Hanson - to understand and embrace.