Pauline Hanson's One Nation

Not to be confused with the One Nation program of infrastructure works carried out from 1991 to 1996 by the Keating Labor Government.
For the offshoot One Nation Parties, see One Nation NSW, City Country Alliance, and Pauline's United Australia Party.
Pauline Hanson's One Nation
Leader Pauline Hanson
Founded 11 April 1997
Headquarters 2/38 Hudson Road,
Newspaper The Nation
Youth wing Young Nation (defunct)
Membership  (2015) Increase 5000 [1]
Ideology Australian nationalism
Right-wing populism
Opposition to immigration
Political position Far-right[4]
Colours      Yellow
House of Representatives
0 / 150
4 / 76

Pauline Hanson's One Nation (also One Nation, One Nation Party and ONP) is a right-wing populist party in Australia. One Nation was founded in 1997, by then-member of parliament Pauline Hanson and her advisors David Ettridge and David Oldfield after Hanson was disendorsed as a federal candidate for the Liberal Party of Australia. The disendorsement came before the 1996 federal election because of comments she made about Indigenous Australians. Hanson sat as an independent for one year before forming One Nation.

Federally, no One Nation candidate has ever been elected to the House of Representatives (Hanson was already a member of the House when One Nation was formed). However, one party candidate was elected to the Senate in the 1998 federal election, and four One Nation senators were elected in the 2016 federal election. In state politics, however, One Nation has performed better. At the 1998 Queensland state election the party gained more than 22% of the vote in Queensland's unicameral legislative assembly, winning 11 of the 89 seats. David Oldfield was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Council as a One Nation candidate, but he was expelled from the party and later formed the unsuccessful splinter group, One Nation NSW. Three members were elected to the Western Australian Legislative Council.

The party has a strongly nationalist and conservative platform. Hanson and other party members have denied claims that the party is racist. Hanson says that "criticism is not racism" about her statements on immigration and race. Hanson has also said that she enjoys the company of other ethnicities and welcomes people to Australia wherever their origin, but does not want other cultures to overly influence Australia.

One Nation changed its name back to "Pauline Hanson's One Nation" in June 2015.

At the 2016 election the party polled 4.3 per cent (+3.8) of the nation-wide primary vote in the Senate. Only Queensland polled higher for the party than their nation-wide percentage − the party polled 9.2 per cent (+8.6) of the primary vote in that state. Pauline Hanson (QLD) and three other One Nation candidates − Malcolm Roberts (QLD), Brian Burston (NSW) and Rod Culleton (WA) were elected to the Senate. Elected to the 3rd Queensland Senate spot, as per convention Hanson is serving a six-year term while the three other One Nation Senators who were elected in the last half of spots are serving three-year terms.


One Nation leader Pauline Hanson.

One Nation was formed in 1997 by Pauline Hanson, David Oldfield and David Ettridge. Hanson was an endorsed Liberal Party candidate for the seat of Oxley, Queensland at the 1996 federal election, but was disendorsed by the party shortly before the elections due to comments she made to a local newspaper in Ipswich, Queensland opposing "race-based welfare".[5] Oldfield, a councillor on Manly Council in suburban Sydney and at one time an employee of Liberal minister Tony Abbott, was the organisational architect of the party.

The name "One Nation" was chosen to signify belief in national unity, in contrast to a perceived increasing division in Australian society allegedly caused by government policies favouring immigrants and indigenous Australians at the expense of the white Australian majority. The term One Nation was last used in Australian political life to describe a tax reform package by the Labor government of Paul Keating, whose urban-based, Asia-centric, free-market, and pro-affirmative action policies were representative of what One Nation voters were opposing.

Arguing other parties to be out of touch with mainstream Australia, One Nation ran on a broadly populist and protectionist platform. It promised to drastically reduce immigration and to abolish "divisive and discriminatory policies ... attached to Aboriginal and multicultural affairs." Condemning multiculturalism as a "threat to the very basis of the Australian culture, identity and shared values", One Nation rallied against government immigration and multicultural policies which, it argued, were leading to "the Asianisation of Australia."[6] The party also denounced economic rationalism and globalisation, reflecting working-class dissatisfaction with the neo-liberal economic policies embraced by the major parties. Adopting strong protectionist policies, One Nation advocated the restoration of import tariffs, a revival of Australia's manufacturing industry, and an increase in support for small business and the rural sector.[7]

One Nation became subject to a political campaign by Tony Abbott, who established a trust fund called "Australians for Honest Politics Trust" to help bankroll civil court cases against the Party.[8] He was also accused of offering funds to One Nation dissident Terry Sharples to support his court battle against the party. Abbott conceded that the political threat One Nation posed to the Howard Government was "a very big factor" in his decision to pursue the legal attack, but he also claimed to be acting "in Australia's national interest".

The party's greatest appeal was in country areas of New South Wales and Queensland, the traditional heartlands of the junior partner in the non-Labor Coalition, the National Party. Indeed, for much of 1997 and 1998, it appeared that One Nation would pass the Nationals.

The party has been involved in Glenn Druery's Minor Party Alliance.[9][10]

Electoral performance

One Nation achieved its peak of support in the 1998 Queensland state election, at which the party won 22.7% of the vote, behind only Labor. In terms of first-preference votes, One Nation received more than either the Liberals or Nationals; its vote share was high enough to render any attempt to calculate a two-party preferred vote meaningless. However, since One Nation's vote was spread out across the state, this was only good enough for seven seats and fourth place in the legislature (behind Labor, the Liberals and Nationals), with 11 of the 89 seats. This was still enough to deny Labor a majority, as seven of One Nation's seats would have gone to Labor if not for leakage of Coalition preferences. Subsequently, the One Nation contingent in the Queensland Parliament split, with dissident members forming the rival City-Country Alliance in late 1999.[11]

Election results

Election Chamber %

of vote

Queensland state election, 1998 Legislative Assembly Increase 22.7% 11
Australian federal election, 1998 House of Representatives Increase 8.4%
Senate Increase 9% 1
New South Wales state election, 1999 Legislative Assembly Increase 7.5%
Legislative Council Increase 6.3% 1
Victorian state election, 1999 Legislative Assembly Increase 0.3%
Legislative Council N/A
Western Australian state election, 2001 Legislative Assembly Increase 9.6%
Legislative Council Increase 9.9% 3
Queensland state election, 2001 Legislative Assembly Decrease 8.7% 3
Northern Territory general election, 2001 Legislative Assembly Increase 1.3%
Australian federal election, 2001 House of Representatives Decrease 4.3%
Senate Decrease 5.5%
South Australian state election, 2002 House of Assembly Increase 2.4%
Legislative Council Increase 1.8%
Queensland state election, 2004 Legislative Assembly Decrease 4.9% 1
Australian federal election, 2004 House of Representatives Decrease 1.2%
Senate Decrease 1.7%
Western Australian state election, 2005 Legislative Assembly Decrease 1.6%
Legislative Council Decrease 1.6%
South Australian state election, 2006 House of Assembly Decrease 0.3%
Legislative Council Decrease 0.8%
Queensland state election, 2006 Legislative Assembly Decrease 0.6% 1
Australian federal election, 2007 House of Representatives Decrease 0.3%
Senate Decrease 0.4%
Western Australian state election, 2008 Legislative Assembly N/A
Legislative Council Decrease 0.6%
Queensland state election, 2009 Legislative Assembly Decrease 0.4%
South Australian state election, 2010 House of Assembly N/A
Legislative Council Decrease 0.5%
Australian federal election, 2010 House of Representatives Decrease 0.2%
Senate Decrease 0.6%
Australian federal election, 2013 House of Representatives Steady 0.2%
Senate Steady 0.6%
Queensland state election, 2015 Legislative Assembly Increase 0.9%
Australian federal election, 2016 House of Representatives Increase 1.29%
Senate Increase 4.29% 4

At the 1998 federal election, Hanson contested the new seat of Blair after a redistribution effectively split Oxley in half. Hanson lost to Liberal candidate Cameron Thompson, and the One Nation candidate in Oxley lost the seat to ALP candidate Bernie Ripoll, but One Nation candidate Heather Hill was elected as a senator for Queensland. Hill's eligibility to sit as a senator was successfully challenged (see Sue v Hill for information on the case) under the Australian Constitution on the basis that she had failed to renounce her childhood British citizenship, despite being a naturalised Australian citizen. The seat went to the party's Len Harris following a recount.

At the 1999 New South Wales election, David Oldfield was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Council.

In the 2001 Queensland state election, One Nation won three seats and 8.69% of the primary vote. The City-Country Alliance lost all of its seats, and faded into irrelevance soon afterward.

At the 2001 state election in Western Australia, One Nation won three seats in the state's Legislative Council. One Nation did not win any seats in state elections in Victoria, South Australia or Tasmania in the following year.

At the 2001 federal election, the party's vote fell from 9% to 5.5%. Hanson failed in her bid to win a Senate seat from Queensland, despite polling a strong 10% of the primary vote. Hanson failed to win a seat in the New South Wales Legislative Council at the 2003 state election, where she ran as an independent, with the support of the One Nation party. She polled less than 2% of the vote and withdrew from the party's leadership.

Internal disputes and initial decline 1998–2012

Since the 1997 peak, One Nation has been plagued by internal divisions and has split several times. Lawsuits involving ex-members forced Hanson to repay approximately A$500,000 of public funding won at the 1998 Queensland election amid claims that the party was fraudulently registered. The suits alleged that the party was undemocratically constituted in order to concentrate all power in the hands of three people—Hanson, Ettridge and Oldfield (in particular Oldfield)—and that it technically had only two members: Ettridge and Hanson. Even though Hanson's fraud charges were dropped, the Electoral Commission of Queensland never reimbursed Hanson for the monies that they collected from the claim.

The first Annual General Meeting of the One Nation party was held in April 1999, which critic Paul Reynolds said demonstrated that One Nation lacked organisation.[12]

In October 2000, Hanson expelled Oldfield from the party. Oldfield had been accused of abusing his authority, usurping power, and setting up alternative political parties under his control. His expulsion created even more instability in a party which was constantly embroiled in scandal and internal strife. Oldfield engineered a split within the party, creating One Nation NSW, in 2001. The new party took advantage of electoral party registration laws to register itself as a political party under the 'One Nation' name with the NSW electoral commission, and achieved registration in April 2002. This meant that the original One Nation party was unable to gain registration for NSW elections, and that any candidates which that party chose to represent them at state elections could not use the party name. Consequently, the original One Nation could only contest Federal elections in NSW under the 'One Nation' banner, whilst the Oldfield group could present itself as 'One Nation' only at state elections.

Disendorsed One Nation candidate Terry Sharples accused the party of not having the 500 members needed for registration, and called for the party to be deregistered, which was carried by the Supreme Court. Hanson appealed the verdict but was unsuccessful. Hanson and Ettridge were later charged with electoral fraud.[13]

At the 2004 Queensland election, One Nation polled less than 5% of the vote and its sole elected representative, Rosa Lee Long, acted as an independent. One Nation attempted to defend its Queensland Senate seat at the 2004 federal election, but lost it (effectively to the National Party). Len Harris's Senate term expired on 30 June 2005.

On 8 February 2005, One Nation lost federal party status but was re-registered in time for the 2007 federal election. It still had state parties in Queensland and New South Wales. Subsequently, it created another state party in Western Australia. In the February 2005 Western Australian election, the One Nation vote collapsed.

In the 2006 South Australian state election, six One Nation candidates stood for the lower house. Their highest levels of the primary vote was 4.1% in the district of Hammond and 2.7% in Goyder, with the other four hovering around 1%. They attracted 0.8% (7559 votes) of the upper house vote. One Nation consequently won no seats in that election.

In the 2006 Queensland state election, the party contested four of 89 seats, and its vote collapsed. It suffered a swing of 4.3% to be left with just 0.6% of the vote. Its only remaining seat in the state (and country), Tablelands, was retained with an increased majority by Rosa Lee Long.[14] Tablelands was abolished prior to the 2009 Queensland state election, with Lee Long failing to win the seat of Dalrymple.

In the 2012 Queensland state election the party unsuccessfully contested six seats. The party received only 2,525 first preference votes (representing 0.1% of the total cast) across the state.[15]


During its original period of popularity, One Nation had a major impact on Australian politics. The primary effect at state and federal levels was to split the conservative vote and threaten the National Party's support base.[11] The appeal of its policies to the National Party's constituency put great pressure on that party. The rapid rise of the party revealed a substantial number of discontented voters dissatisfied with the major parties.

In the prologue to her autobiography Untamed and Unashamed, Hanson cites the Howard government's adoption of her policies as an attempt to win back One Nation voters to the Liberal and National parties, stating "the very same policies I advocated back then ... are being advocated today by the federal government".[16]

2013 Stephanie Banister interview

In August 2013, Stephanie Banister, a One Nation candidate in the federal election for the lower house seat of Rankin, gave an interview to Channel 7[17] in which she referred to the religion Islam as a country, claimed that Jewish people worship Jesus Christ, confused the Muslim text Quran with the Islamic term for sin, haram, and made numerous incorrect statements about halal and kashrut food laws regarding Muslims and Jews, respectively.[18]

The interview attracted derision internationally in the media, with commentators comparing her to Sarah Palin, a United States politician, former Governor of Alaska and 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate, known for several gaffes regarding incorrect information.[19][20][21][22]

Banister stated "Unfortunately, they've completely twisted all my words and made me out to be a stand-up criminal and a stupid moron" and that she had been misrepresented, with numerous corrections having been edited out by Fairfax Media.[19] Banister withdrew from the election shortly afterward.[23]

Hanson's return, re-election as leader

In 2013, Pauline Hanson rejoined One Nation as a rank-and-file member, until she unsuccessfully contested the Senate for New South Wales at the 2013 federal election.

Hanson was returned as leader by the One Nation executive in November 2014, following encouragement from One Nation members and support from the general public.[24] She contested the seat of Lockyer for the party at the January 2015 Queensland state election, falling only 114 votes short of defeating sitting Liberal National Party member Ian Rickuss.[25]

In July 2015, Hanson announced that the party was renamed the original "Pauline Hanson's One Nation" and that she would contest the Senate for Queensland at the 2016 federal election.[26]

2016 federal comeback

When candidate nominations were announced by the Australian Electoral Commission, the party nominated Senate candidates in all states, 12 candidates for the House of Representatives in Queensland and three in New South Wales.[27]

At the 2016 election the party polled 4.3 per cent (+3.8) of the nation-wide primary vote in the Senate. Only Queensland polled higher for the party than their nation-wide percentage − the party polled 9.2 per cent (+8.6) of the primary vote in that state. Assisted by halved Senate quotas at the double dissolution election, Pauline Hanson (QLD) and three other One Nation candidates − Malcolm Roberts (QLD), Brian Burston (NSW) and Rod Culleton (WA) − were elected to the Senate. Elected to the 3rd Queensland Senate spot, as per convention Hanson is serving a six-year term while the three other One Nation Senators who were elected in the last half of spots are serving three-year terms.[28] Along with the Nick Xenophon Team, One Nation now holds the balance of power in the Australian Parliament - no bill opposed by Labor and the Greens can pass the Senate without the support of at least two One Nation Senators.[29]

The highest result in the House of Representatives was 20.9 per cent of the primary vote in Wright (QLD).


No. Name
Term of office Electorate Served Notes
1 Pauline Hanson
11 April
5 August
Oxley, QLD,
19961998 (resigned, seat transfer)
Senate, QLD,
2 John Fischer
5 August
1 June
Mining and Pastoral, WA,
20012005 (defeated)
3 Rosa Lee Long
1 June
13 May
Tablelands, QLD,
20012009 (resigned, seat transfer)
4 Jim Savage
13 May
18 November
(1) Pauline Hanson
18 November
Incumbent Oxley, QLD,
19961998 (resigned, seat transfer)
Senate, QLD,

Members of Parliament


New South Wales


Western Australia

See also


  1. "The party's over: which clubs have the most members?". Crikey. 18 July 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2016.
  2. Jamie Smyth (4 July 2016). "Australian firebrand Pauline Hanson marks political return with anti-Muslim speech". The Financial Times. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  3. Jean Kennedy (5 July 2016). "Election 2016: Pauline Hanson's comments could lead to violence, Tim Soutphommasane warns". ABC News. Retrieved 5 July 2016.
  4. "Senate count: Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party gets two Queensland senators". The Australian. 4 August 2016. Retrieved 1 September 2016. The populist right-wing party snared four seats after preferences were allocated today...
  6. One Nation's Immigration, Population and Social Cohesion Policy 1998
  7. Charlton, P. 1998. Full Circle. The Courier-Mail, 13 June 1998.
  9. Trevor Bormann (5 September 2013). "Bitter dispute erupts over Senate preferences in Queensland". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  10. Alicia Wood (5 September 2014). "Alliance of micro parties boosts odds for likes of One Nation or Shooters and Fishers gaining Senate spot through preferences". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  11. 1 2 Wanna, John (2003). "Queensland". In Moon, Campbell; Sharman, Jeremy. Australian Politics and Government: The Commonwealth, the States and Territories. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. p. 92. ISBN 0521825075. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
  12. Rutherford, Jennifer (June 2001). "One Love Too Many: The Undoing of Pauline Hanson". Australian Journal of Politics and History. 47 (2): 192–208. doi:10.1111/1467-8497.00227.
  14. 2006 Queensland Election. Electorate Results. Election Results. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  15. "2012 State General Election – Election Summary". Electoral Commission Queensland. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  16. Hanson, Pauline. Untamed and Unashamed, JoJo Publishing, 2007, ISBN 978-0-9802836-2-4
  17. Australia's Sarah Palin. Seven News. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  18. "Stephanie Banister Channel Seven Interview, One Nation Candidate Interview". The Age. Melbourne.
  19. 1 2 Williams, Rob (8 August 2013). "Australian ultra-nationalist politician Stephanie Banister in car crash immigration TV interview". The Independent. London.
  20. Bridie Jabour (8 August 2013). One Nation candidate Stephanie Banister puts Islam on the map. The Guardian. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  21. "Is this Australia's answer to Sarah Palin? Candidate believes Islam is a country and gets halal mixed up with a term that means sinful". Daily Mail. London.
  22. Stuart, Hunter (8 August 2013). "WATCH: Australia's Version Of Sarah Palin?". Huffington Post.
  23. Ross, Monique. "One Nation candidate Stephanie Banister quits election race after Islam gaffe". ABC News, 15 August 2013. (accessed 26 August 2013)
  24. Agius, Kym (23 November 2014). "Pauline Hanson returns to lead One Nation, plans to contest Queensland election". Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  25. Killoran, Matthew (13 February 2015). "Pauline Hanson misses out on seat of Lockyer after bid for recount rejected". The Courier-Mail.
  27. "Candidates for the 2016 federal election". Australian Electoral Commission. 12 June 2016. Retrieved 12 June 2016.
  28. Coalition and Labor team up to clear out crossbench senators in 2019: SMH 12 August 2016
  29. "The outcome 'nobody expected': One Nation becomes pivotal force in Australian politics". Sydney Morning Herald. August 4, 2016.

Further reading

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