• Pauline Hanson (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
It seems the flame-haired fish and chip shop lady who dropped out of school aged 15 opened the floodgates to a whole new generation of political misfits.
Jeremy Cassar

21 Jul 2016 - 5:16 PM  UPDATED 1 Aug 2016 - 9:54 AM

Not every Aussie individual follows the same trajectory in order to reach a position of political power. Sure, many attended overpriced private schools, maintained their family’s university legacy, and jumped straight into a low-level political position.

Others, though, needed a few revolutions on the roundabout before settling into public office, and as Pauline Hanson has returned to the forefront of everyone’s mind, it’s the perfect time to highlight some of the more bizarre backstories of Aussie politicians.

Pauline Hanson

A lovely Greek couple owned a small but legendary take-away fast food joint. Their presence was an engrained part of the community, and conversing with either or both of them was a treat.

However, if somebody told me that the couple sold the shop in favour of a political career, I’d either laugh or cry for the kilometre walk home.

Which is why Pauline Hanson’s political appearance way back in the early 90’s struck such a chord with both advocates and dissenters. Pro-Hanson’s saw a self-made Sheila who left home as a young teenager and forged a thriving business with her own two hands. Anti-Hanson’s saw a self-made bigot who should have remained behind the grill.

Either way, she’s back, and has a new generation of supporters that are eclipsed by the new generation of those who reckon she deserves a sturdy flipping of the bird. 

Revisit Pauline Hanson's infamous maiden speech
"I am fed up with being told, ‘This is our land.’ Well, where the hell do I go? I was born here."

Jacqui Lambie

Whatever you may think of Jacquie Lambie's politics, it doesn’t help that she sounds like an out-of-tune banjo with only one string. Lambie is a rough ‘n’ ready Tassie senator, whether speaking out against Sharia Law before figuring out what it actually is, or suggesting all asylum seekers wear electronic bracelets.

After living in public housing until year 11, Lambie joined the Australian army in 1989 and served for eleven years, only to injure her back while on duty and subsequently spend from 2000-2005 fighting for fair compensation.

Her initial decision to enter Tasmanian politics was to “infiltrate the boys club.”


Ricky Muir

Bizarrely, Ricky Muir entered the political scene as a self-proclaimed ‘everyday Australian’ who merely wanted to drive his 4WD freely around the nation’s countryside. Even more absurd is the fact that Muir was preselected to represent AMEP (Australian Motorists Enthusiasts Party) four months before the election without anyone from the party meeting the man.

Muir’s reign as the face of AMEP lasted less than a year, as the Victorian arm disbanded, giving Muir no local party to lead.

The next logical step was to join the Palmer United Party, a move that saw Muir land a spot as Senator. One public struggle to explain ‘balance of power’ to Mike Willesee and five staff sackings later, and every day, the ‘everyday Australian’ is still driving to his public office in a 4WD. 


Clive Palmer


If anyone could head our nation with aplomb, it’s a man who’s made a fortune from depleting our natural resources.  Palmer is Donald Trump with more believable hair, a collection of animatronic dinosaurs, and a half-built replica of the Titanic.

He also comes at the Aussie media under a ‘no bullshit’ guise, something the Americans love about Trump.

Unfortunately for his groupies, the head honcho of Palmer United Party retired from politics in May this year, after holding the seat of Fairfax since 2012.


Peter Garrett

Legendary Aussie rock band Midnight Oil always moved forward with politics on the mind. Similarly, while lead singer and harmonica player Peter Garrett was banging his head towards chart-topping singles, he served as a part-time activist.

No matter the Oil members’ leanings, Garrett’s shift of focus to Australian politics was still rather jarring — as if the frantic, bald beast had been tamed and forced into a mediocre suit. However, the frontman ended up in Labor’s band, fronting both conservation and arts issues.

Three years a piece with Rudd and Gillard, and a bunch of international humanitarian awards later, and Garrett is set to release a solo album, hopefully in an effort to divulge dirt on notable labor members.


John Alexander

J.A. may have won seven ATP singles titles, but not one of them was a grand slam, which left his peak ranking at number 8 in the world.

Not good enough, John. Luckily the tennis star refused to settle for the Medal of the Order of Australia and took his Liberal backside to the winning seat of Bennelong in 2010. Nobody’s contested his seat since then, which is probably due to the fact that Australia boasts many a tennis fan.


Wyatt Roy

We could perhaps nickname Wyatt Roy as the Doogie Howser of Australian politics, but nobody on this earth wants to offend Neil Patrick Harris, so let’s just call him the Bobby Fisher of Australian politics.

I couldn’t give a pair of platform shoes as to what the manboy believes. Whether Roy was on the right or the left or the Dalai Lama’s speed dial, I would find it more than difficult to take the little cutey seriously.

After holding fort for six years, Roy lost his seat during this year’s election, and rumour has it he has returned to his studies with pre-school graduation in his sights.


See more of Pauline, her commentators and the infamous fish and chip shop where it all began in Pauline Hanson: Please Explain! Available to view at SBS On Demand now.

Or watch it right here:

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Revisit Pauline Hanson's infamous maiden speech
"I am fed up with being told, ‘This is our land.’ Well, where the hell do I go? I was born here."