Culture

Pauline Hanson Just Became One Of The Most Powerful Politicians In Australia

Shit just got real.

More than a month after Australians went to the polls and re-elected Malcolm Turnbull’s Coalition government, we finally have a firmer picture on the makeup of the all important Senate. And it’s a pretty terrifying picture. In fact it’s so scary that if you Googled “Scariest pictures” (Don’t do this it is terrifying) and combined the results into some collage of insanely horrifying shit, it still wouldn’t come close to describing our new Senate.

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party has won FOUR seats. One in WA, one in NSW and two in Queensland (Great stuff Queensland, keep it up). Jacqui Lambie’s back, representing the fine folk of Tasmania, Derryn Hinch has won a seat in Victoria, Family First is back in SA, everyone’s favourite pro-gun Senator David Leyonhjelm is back in NSW and Nick Xenophon has won three seats in SA.

The Greens will have nine senators in the new Parliament, Labor will have 26 and the Coalition will have 30. Despite the fact that the whole point of having an early, double dissolution election was to clear out the crossbench and make it easier for the government to get things through the Parliament, there are now more independent and minor party senators than ever before. It’s going to be very, very challenging for the Turnbull government to get its legislation through the Senate.

 

Pauline Hanson Has Just Become Extremely Powerful

In order to pass laws the government needs to secure a majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. In the House of Representatives the Coalition has a majority of … one. So they should be okay, as long as everyone rocks up and votes on time. But the Senate is far more messy.

If Labor and the Greens oppose the government’s policies, which is likely to happen on a whole range of key issues like industrial relations, education and health, the Coalition needs to convince nine of the eleven independent and minor party Senators to back them. In those situations the Coalition will need to secure the votes of all One Nation senators and the entire Nick Xenophon Team to pass any laws.

If Turnbull tries to establish the Australian Building and Construction Commission, he’s going to need to sit down with Pauline Hanson. If he wants to try and deregulate student fees again, he’s going to have sit down with Pauline Hanson. Hanson has gone from being a political oddity to one of the most powerful political players in the country. Which is even more extraordinary when you consider her party plagiarised a bunch of their policies.

We don’t know what policies One Nation will prioritise in the new Parliament but expect to hear more about a royal commission into Islam and a ban on Muslims. One of the new One Nation Senators is well-known climate denialist Malcolm Roberts. Anti-Islam and anti-science. Woohoo!

Strap yourselves in Australia, it’s going to be a hell of a ride over the next three years.