How has One Nation affected Australia?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that One Nation has impacted Australian politics in a couple of ways.  The first is that the emergence of the party revealed that at one point in time there was a significant portion of the body politic that embraced its ideas.  When the face so commonly associated with One Nation, Pauline Hanson, talked about the abolition of multiculturalism, Australian being "swamped by Asians," and government inequalities, the party made its stand as an ultra right wing political entity.  When the party garnered over 20% of the 1998 national vote, it impacted Australia in a significant manner.  At its zenith, One Party was a formidable political force that was able to alter national political discussions.  It affected Australia in how it raised serious questions about the present and future of Australia in relation to globalization and its place in the world.

At the same time, Australian politicians were impacted by how effective the politics of fear and resentment could actually be. Leaders like Hanson were no longer seen as aberrations or ludicrous.  Rather, they were taken seriously as possessing real and valid political insights.  Certainly, one can see the dwindling and negligible role of the One Nation party in subsequent elections as the result of the Australian public reevaluating its initial embrace. At the same time, the fragmentation and gradual entropy of One Nation shows how organizational mechanics in political organizations might be more important than actual message.  One Nation has impacted Australian politics in its cautionary tale status of both how the public can embrace resentment and disdain in its political culture and how individual agendas can destroy what once was a potent political mobilization.