Charting the volatile political journey of newly elected Senator Pauline Hanson from 1996 to 2016, Pauline Hanson: Please Explain! shows the impact that the former fish and chip shop lady had on multicultural Australia – as it seems she’s now set to have a similar impact, all over again.
In September 1996, rookie independent MP Pauline Hanson gave a speech that shocked Australia.
Attacking multiculturalism, native title, political correctness, Aboriginal welfare and foreign aid, Hanson seemed to set a new cultural zeitgeist for the country Prime Minister Keating had once positioned as “part of Asia”.
Winning massive support from Australia’s disenfranchised battlers, and alienating leaders throughout Asia, Hanson inflamed populist resentment against minorities and the elites like a ‘90s Donald Trump. Her One Nation party won an unthinkable 11 seats in the 1998 Queensland state election and posed a major threat to Prime Minister John Howard’s coalition government. It’s claimed that Howard then repurposed One Nation policies to make them more palatable for Liberal voters. Howard’s protégé, Tony Abbott MP backed a legal action that eventually saw Hanson sent to jail.
Now, after 18 years in the political wilderness, Hanson is a newly elected Senator – and riding the populist wave once more. Her volatile journey in the political spotlight mirrors Australia’s own - to the divided landscape we live in today. Hanson rose from pariah to celebrity on Dancing with the Stars; Australia meanwhile lived through the Cronulla Riots, Stop the Boats, and growing anti-Muslim sentiment today.
Pauline Hanson: Please Explain! tells the story of how Pauline Hanson a humble fish and chip shop lady from Ipswich, impacted multicultural Australia. Intercutting Hanson’s 2016 “Fed Up” campaign for a federal senate seat with her volatile political journey between 1996 and 2004, the film uses provocative 1990s archive, intimate access to Hanson and One Nation insiders, and incisive commentary from leading Indigenous, multicultural, political and media figures such as The Hon. Linda Burney MP, Professor Marcia Langton AM, The Hon. John Howard OM AC, Helen Sham Ho OAM, Alan Jones, David Oldfield, John Pasquarelli and Margo Kingston to present a balanced and revealing insight into Hanson’s unique political legacy – and how it has impacted on our identity as Australians today.
Two decades after her maiden speech, Hanson is the celebrity politician many Australians love to hate - but her divisive legacy lives on. Pauline Hanson: Please Explain! shows the impact that the former fish and chip shop lady had on multicultural Australia – and that she well may have, all over again.