If political polling is to be believed, then Australia has divided into three roughly equal groups. Those who will vote for Labor, those who will vote for the Coalition and those who will vote for the Greens and the minor parties.
While this third group is by no means homogeneous, it does represent nearly one third of Australia’s population who will not provide a first preference vote for the major parties and their policies.
An article in The Guardian provides an interesting insight
It is Divided Britain: study finds huge chasm in attitudes. These cross cultural, age and education lines.
The article makes an interesting point of possible relevance to Australia.
“In particular, it found, reducing immigration levels alone will not alleviate anxiety about new arrivals, not least since those most likely to express those views are based predominantly in areas where few immigrants actually live.
“Immigration has become a totemic emblem for the many grievances people feel in modern Britain,” said Nick Lowles, the chief executive of Hope Not Hate, in an introduction to the report.
“The strong view in many of these communities is that they have been abandoned and left to rot by the political establishment in preference to addressing the needs and wishes of new arrivals in the cities.”
The Castle in Cambridge and East Marsh in Grimsby, Lincolnshire: Two sides of the divide.
Anti–immigration and anti-Islamic attitudes, which are more prevalent in rural and semi-rural areas where One Nation’s vote strongest, are not a result of actually living with immigrants or Muslims. They are based on a perception that resources are being directed away from impoverished and struggling rural communities and towards recently-arrived, city-based migrant groups.
It is this deep-rooted resentment that Pauline Hanson is able to tap into and draw her political support.
And like most irrational attitudes, these particular attitudes are very difficult for a government of any political persuasion to shift because the causes are deep-seated and systemic.
In the meantime, Pauline Hanson continues to attract headlines with her “It’s OK to be white ‘motion which gained support (momentarily?) from 23 Coalition senators including including the deputy Senate leader and trade minister, Simon Birmingham, the small business minister, Michaelia Cash, the resources minister, Matt Canavan, communications minister Mitch Fifield, Indigenous affairs minister Nigel Scullion and deputy Nationals leader Bridget McKenzie. Liberal senator Lucy Gichuhi.
What were they thinking?