Who gave a major boost to the minor parties in this election and why?
Tuesday, August 30, 2016 - 20:30

Voters are turning away from Labor and the Coalition in droves, with the most recent election seeing nearly a quarter of Australians cast their ballot for minor party or independent candidates.

Just last week, Senator Pauline Hanson returned to Parliament after an 18 year absence, with almost 10% of Queenslanders giving One Nation the nod. With support across the country, three of her fellow party representatives join her in the Senate.

First-timers are also in, including former media personality Derryn Hinch, while more experienced politicians like Nick Xenophon and Jacqui Lambie have confirmed their popularity outside the major parties. Eleven cross benchers will join the nine Greens senators with a voice in some of the most important legislation in Australian history, including marriage equality and Indigenous recognition in the constitution.

Is Australia seeing the “Trump effect”, as some experts have called it, where populist policies are providing comfort to voters amidst perceived threats and crises?

Are these new politicians more relatable, seemingly plucked from of everyday life?  Are the old guards of Australian politics out of touch with the wants and needs of a significant portion of the population?

With swings from the Greens to Pauline Hanson, from the Nationals to Nick Xenophon, the Liberal Party to Derryn Hinch,  Insight asks recent voters: why have they have come to find solace in minority representatives?




Join the discussion by using the #insightsbs hashtag on Twitter, or posting on our Facebook page.




JENNY BROCKIE:  Welcome everybody, good to have you with us tonight. Bill, you're startled, you're a fourth generation farmer from South Australia and a long standing National Party supporter and member in fact of the National Party. Who did you vote for in the Senate, in the recent election? 

BILL: Nick Xenophon this time. 


BILL:  We I was fed up, well we don't have a National Party, you know, candidate in our electorate because, they've got this buddy thing with the Liberal Party so I'm just fed up with the Liberal Party. They are… I'm fed up with them, yeah. 


BILL:  Oh, a number of reasons. I think one of the things that really annoyed me when Julia Gillard was trying to run the country and they sit there with a bloody look of absolute disdain, they were so disruptive, they were so arrogant in opposition. They weren't constructive, all the self restraint of an under ten year old football team, you know.

JENNY BROCKIE:  As a National Party man you were annoyed with that? 

BILL:  Yeah, I thought she was doing a pretty good job under the circumstances.

JENNY BROCKIE:  What attracted you to Nick Xenophon? 

BILL:  Nick, Nick's cool, Nick goes around to all the local shows, you want to talk to Nick and you can go up to him and he wants to know you, he wants to talk to you.  You can bring up issues with him and he'll listen to a point of view, you know. I said to one of the heavies in the Liberal Party down home, why are you flogging off all the assets that we own, you know, for privatisation? Why are you demutualising everything we've got like you know, the bulk handling cooperatives and stuff like that?  Why do you dig out, you know, allowing foreign companies to come in and dig all our minerals up?   What about our kids and he said oh well, that's our policy. I said I don't like your policy.  He said well join the Liberal Party he said and you can have your say and that, you Charlie, I'll fix you up, I'll vote for somebody else. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Is it the first time you've ever voted for a minor party? 

BILL:  Um, pretty much. yeah, that was another thing that really annoyed me too is when Turnbull pulled this, you know, double dissolution stunt, in my opinion double dissolution is something that should happen in a time of national emergency and he said okay, we've got this double dissolution and we never heard another word about it. If it's worth calling a double dissolution, this issue he called it over, at least it could have been mentioned somewhere in the election campaign. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  So you felt like that was done but there was never any follow through on why it was done? 

BILL:  Well it was just, it was a ruse, it was just an excuse, he thought he was going to get control of the Senate. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  So why now, why vote for a minor party now in the Senate? 

BILL:  What's different is this time is that the Liberal Party has this fixation on the top end of town.  They're not interested in, in, you know, the little people, they're not interested in, in small business, all they want to do is, is just see everything shipped off overseas, manufactured overseas, and what have you, and I think, you know, I think the whole thing's going to the dogs, that what I reckon. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Rod, you're from the outskirts of Perth? 

ROD:  Yes. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  How have you voted in the past? 

ROD:  Well, either Liberal or Labour.

JENNY BROCKIE:  And who did you vote for in the Senate this time? 

ROD:  Oh, One Nation. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  And why did you do that? 

ROD:   Well, her passion for the country and what's best about not selling our country out to foreign, you know, foreign countries, yeah, she's all about Australia and the main parties and that, they're looking for the votes.  Whereas someone like Pauline Hanson, I believe she's genuine, you know, I believe everything she says. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  And why do you believe she's genuine?  What is it about what she does that sets her apart for you? 

ROD:  Some of the things she says are quite controversial and I mean you don't have to agree with everything a politician says to still want to follow them, but you can want to follow them because of the passion they've got.  That they, you can see she's got the best interests of this country at heart, whereas I don't feel, you know, some of the other politicians have. I feel they've got a game, an end result they want out of their party. It's like the party's more important than the country.

JENNY BROCKIE:  You said, you said you didn't agree with everything that she stands for.  What are the things you disagree with? 

ROD:  I disagree with some of, for instance, on Islam.  There's many things I don't like about Islam in this country, you know, that I don't want and don't want here. However, like in the policy it says, you know no more, no more Muslim immigrants, I don't think, completely want to stop Muslims coming into the country.

JENNY BROCKIE:  So those sorts of things are driving your vote? 

ROD:  Um, no, well, that's, that's sort of, the Islam thing is one of the things but that's, there's foreign ownership, there's all the, you know, the banking, it seems like our politicians don't care about the people.

JENNY BROCKIE:  Have you always cared about politics Rod? 

ROD:  Not at all.

JENNY BROCKIE:  So what changed? 

ROD:  Pauline was my change in politics.  It was, to me people call her a racist bigot. I call her an inspirational Aussie battler, you know, she's fought hard for what she believes in and I believe she does love this country and, I think her best interests are this country and not about pleasing a party.  She says it.

JENNY BROCKIE:  Caileb, you grew up in northern New South Wales, you now live in Queensland, you voted for the very first time in this election. Who did you vote for in the election? 

CAILEB: I voted for Pauline Hanson. 


CAILEB:  Like Rod, I believe that she sort of identified with my values and seemed very genuine and stood up more for the people. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Which part of your values, I mean you're nineteen so you weren't born when she first entered politics, what are your impressions of her and what part of your values do you connect with her? 

CAILEB: Well, I like how she wants to sort of re nationalise Australia and bring everything back in, like with the mining companies, it was said that 90 percent of the exports and profits from that go overseas. If we bring that back into Australia that could help out a lot, along with the powers companies, phone companies, Telstra being sold off, it's no good. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Okay, and you have an indigenous background? 

CAILEB: Yes, that’s correct. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  And you haven't found yourself at odds with things that she's said publicly? 

CAILEB: I think that she is more misrepresented with that, I personally, it's not too much of a concern to me, I know in the past she has had some issues with that but people change over time. Her current values and what she stands for is what I stand with. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Okay.  You mentioned a few things you relate to, are there other things that you relate to that she says? 

CAILEB: With things like the student university allowance, so trying to help out the students more, which Daniel did a little bit of research on that. 

DANIEL:   Yes.  I like the fact that she plans to help out students who are not living away from home but are not eligible for youth allowance as students like me, I have to work and I'm a full time student I have to do part-time work at marine yards and labour works just so I can pay for the expenses of going to a university. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  What do you want from politicians Caileb as a 19 year old? 

CAILEB: I just want some more like honesty, like promising not what they want us to hear but what they can actually do. So just be more truthful and not over promising. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  And do you think Pauline Hanson will end up doing everything she says she wants to do? 

CAILEB: I personally believe that she does have a lot of drive and she personally is invested with it.  I hope that she does. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Irene, you live in Melbourne, you voted for Derryn Hinch? 

IRENE:  I did. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  In the Senate and that's the first time vote away from the major parties for you too? 

IRENE:  Yeah, absolutely. 


IRENE:  Disillusionment.

JENNY BROCKIE:  How have you voted mostly in the past? 

IRENE:  I've always voted Liberal.  It's more or less a family tradition. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Going back to your parents? 

IRENE:  My father mainly, yes, because we came here as refugees in 1956 

JENNY BROCKIE:  From Hungary? 

IRENE:  From Hungary, yes, and my father took the view that a Liberal Party was in office at the time and he was the eternally grateful. He felt that they gave us the opportunity to have a fantastic life that we ended up having.

JENNY BROCKIE:  So you kept that up for a long time? 

IRENE:  All my life. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  So what finally…

IRENE:  I voted many times. 

JENNY BROCKIE: So what finally tipped you to vote for Derryn Hinch in the Senate? 

IRENE:  Oh gosh, I think I'm just fed up. I'm just fed up with, I think it was just said before that we hear, it's politics, in the main, major parties has become way too personal. It's ugly. It's not, it's not the future of the country that they're worrying about, it's their tenure, you know. As long as they're there for the three years, whatever, I don't think they think beyond it. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  And why did Derryn Hinch strike a chord then in a way that no one else did? 

IRENE:  Well Derryn Hinch can be very polarising.  He has been in my eyes too at times but it's mainly his stance his on the justice system or the injustice system. You know, he was prepared to put his liberty on the line. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  By going to gaol? 

IRENE:  By going to gaol and I think it's that kind of commitment that we don't see in mainstream leaders. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  You voted Pauline Hanson's One Nation as your second? 

IRENE:  I did. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  What appealed to you about Hanson? 

IRENE:  Again it's that forthrightness, it resonates with the man in the street. I don't, I don't necessarily like how Pauline expresses herself at times.  When I say I don't like it, I feel sorry for her actually because she's been thrown into an arena where she, she's like pretty much most of us in this room, you know, we're not trained to, to speak in public. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  You're doing well. You're doing well. 

IRENE:  As you can see, but you know, okay, she does put her foot in it occasionally but the core of what she's saying really resonates with me. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  As a child, you know, a refugee from Hungary, how do you feel about her views on immigration then? 

IRENE:  I support her wholeheartedly, wholeheartedly because we moved forward straight away. We were very keen to assimilate, we were very keen to adopt Australian values and to this day I'm an immensely patriotic Australian, immensely and I don't see that happening in immigration now.

JENNY BROCKIE:  Well would you be able to…

IRENE: They segregate themselves, you know, migrants these days seem to segregate themselves way more than we did. My parents never let us speak Hungarian in public whereas I live in an area now where I can walk down my main street and I don't know what some of the shops are selling. I can't read the signage.  Often I will go in and I can't communicate. Now we didn't do that as migrants. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Given that you'd always voted Liberal and that your parents had encouraged you to, what was it like for you making that decision to vote for Derryn Hinch first in the Senate? 

IRENE:  It was really quite an emotional decision, funnily enough, it was, it was, but I felt probably more connected to, I feel my vote has mattered for the first time, mmm.  But I felt, I did feel disloyal. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Marnie, can I get a reaction from you?  You voted for Derryn Hinch as well, what's it like for you hearing that from a fellow, that list of things from a fellow Hinch voter? 

MARNIE:  Well, it was a very emotional decision for me too. It was all about the justice system, or the injustice system, that made me vote for Hinch. My home town of Wangaratta, in the space of four months, it's a rural country town, had two murders.  Two very shocking close to home murders.  One of the people that were murdered in my home town early this year was living right next door to a person on parole, with an 80 year old mother and this woman had no idea that she was living next door to a sex offender and she went over to get cherry tomatoes and never came back.

She should have the right to know who is in your vicinity that really struck a chord with the community so we got a whole heap of people together, by we, two women in Wangaratta started a rally, and Darren Hinch came along and he does those things. He turns up, he does the walks, he does the marches and he's…

JENNY BROCKIE:  So you felt that there was a direct connection with the candidate? 

MARNIE:  Yeah. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Had you felt like that about candidates from the major parties before? 



MARNIE:  No.  I think the closest was Kevin 07, you know, everyone sort of, when Rudd came in and he was going to say sorry, everyone got excited because there was changes coming. But as far as Derryn Hinch goes, he is not afraid to say what needs to be said. He has gone to gaol for his injustices, that you know, talking out against the paedophile priest and …

JENNY BROCKIE:  So you who see that as conviction?

MARNIE:  Yes, a man of his word. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Politician? 

MARNIE:  Yeah. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  And you don't see the others that way? 


JENNY BROCKIE:  Those of you who did turn away from the major parties for the first time, can you identify a turning point that actually led to that? Yes, nods over here, yes, Rod? 

ROD:  Yeah, when the way Turnbull come in and, you know, becoming the leader of the party and getting rid of someone who'd been voted in and, I thought, it's just, you vote someone in and it just felt so unAustralian to, it's like part of your team and it's like you've, you've gone and double crossed them. It's like…

JENNY BROCKIE:  So really turned you off? 

ROD:  Yeah, completely. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Okay, anyone else got anything that happened and I'm talking about people who voted for the first time for a minor party at this election, yes? 

PAUL: Yeah, well I voted Liberal since 1978. The turning point for me was when Abbott was knifed and I thought hang on, here's the Labour scenario once again.  He was a man with passion.  You might not have to agree but he did have passion, he did have the guts to get up and say what he wanted, not like all the politically correct politicians we have right throughout now. That's why there's 24 percent of the population voted for minority parties this time.

JENNY BROCKIE:  Bill, was there a specific issue that drove you away from the Nationals to nick Xenophon?

BILL:  Well it's becoming increasingly chancy farming in this country with, the climate variability that we're experiencing.  Tony Abbott described climate change as load of crap. I think Turnbull changed his mind under pressure.  But seriously it's one of the biggest problems that we've got, it is really one of the most important things that we are looking at, probably as a human species, being able to grow food for an increasingly large population with a capriciously climate that we have got to deal with.

JENNY BROCKIE:  Marnie, was there a moment for you when you kinda lost faith in the major parties?

MARNIE: Yeah, it happened over a couple of years, watching Julia Gillard take over from Rudd, then watching the same stuff happen in the liberal Party and if you just sit back and watch a couple of the Q and A time, question time and stuff, they look like school yard children arguing over lollipops and stuff. It does not look like politics, nothing is constructive, they are not working together towards a solution. They are too busy trying to be one better than the other, this ones right, my idea is better. No one’s negotiating and there needs to be negotiation and I’m quite disgusted that that’s how our country is being run.

JENNY BROCKIE:  Viki, was there a turning point for you moving away from the major parties? 

VIKI:  Yes, I have been an LNP supporter for years and years. But in Queensland when the state election had happened and they defunded a particular program that I'm close to which sat around youth mental health and homelessness, and for me I couldn't go to our local member and talk to them and I've always been able to do that. I've always been able to go and advocate for clients in the community and when we lost our local member and we lost our funding, I was stuck. I just didn't know how to knock on the door and have someone, go to them and talk to them.  

And so I voted Xenophon because of that, because I felt that he listened and the pressure I guess, on people who using poker machines and the addiction of gambling, the waste and then the reliance back on welfare. And I attended a gathering one evening prior to the election when Joe Hockey was visiting and we all went to that, we paid $100 to sit down in the room while he was campaigning and he said, “What can I do for you?” and I said “We need $100,000 a year because the LNP had defunded the crisis support response for all young people and that is the area that I work in, Youth at Risk, Homelessness and the drug epidemic.”

And when I spoke to him and he said what do you need and I said “Actually Joe, I need a $100,000, that’s what I need because we have got no staff and I’m the youngest in our volunteer team who go out and work with these kids and he said “Viki, you have got to go back to your community and get the money from them.” And I said, “Joe, that is a lot of lamingtons we are going to have to make to be able to sell to raise the money to put a roof over these kids heads and give those families some support while they put them into some respite, to rehab to get back out into their society where they fit and they have a right to belong.”

JENNY BROCKIE:  So who did you vote for?

VIKI: I voted for Nick Xenophon as my first vote.  I voted for Derryn Hinch and then I voted Greens and I've never voted away from my party.  And when someone, I think Caileb who said you'd voted for the first time, it was interesting to listen, you know, like Pauline Hanson, she's not new, she's seasoned, this is her gig for twenty years and she's the most toxic thing that has happened to Australia in my 58 years. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  So what made you change this time? 

VIKI:  Because on a local level, I should be able to go to my member and tell them what's happening in the community and have them listen.

JENNY BROCKIE:  And you felt ignored by your local member? 

VIKI:  Yeah, I feel ignored. I can't go and get our local member to do anything for us anymore. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Anyone else have that experience? 

BILL: Yep. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Or felt that way about their local member? Yeah, Paul? 

PAUL:  Over the last three years our local member, I kept sending her emails regarding different issues from training of young kids, for apprenticeships to jobs, et cetera, et cetera, never would you get a proper answer from her. It would be a generic response on your email. I'm in pest control, they took the training out of TAFE quite a few years ago, now these kids are paying $1,400 to do a five day course to get licensed. 95 percent within six months fall away and that's just not good enough. It's happening right across all the trades. They’re flying workers in from overseas so they don't have to have the apprentices because there's no incentives for tradies to put apprentices on.  And I know a lot of people who put the two majors right at the bottom just to kick them in the pants. Everyone's had a gutful. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  And this is voting for all Pauline Hanson?

PAUL:  No, I actually voted ALA number one in the Senate. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Oh, Australian Liberty Alliance. 

PAUL:  Yep. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Yep, but you voted Hanson second? 

PAUL:  Second, yeah, and then CDP. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Irene, what did you want to say? 

IRENE:  Self-serving, a bunch of self-serving people who are in it, okay, they're career politicians, definitely, but they've got, they're only interested in themselves. I think for the first time ever there's been a pool of alternatives in my eyes that I could, I could relate to. In the past, you know, and I don't think it's been toxic like this in the past, I mean I think this theatre and the venom and the appalling behaviour started in the, in the Rudd era and prior to that, okay, politicians were politicians but we didn't see the, the childish kindergarten behaviour that we're seeing now. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Grace, what's your voting history? 

GRACE:  Oh, it's a bit of a varied one actually. I remember before I could even vote I would be supporting the Liberals. Until I went to Victoria and Jeff Kennett ran in Parliament and I'm afraid he changed me from being a Liberal voter to being anything else but. 


GRACE:  His attempt as removing penalty rates and shift rates and I worked in a public health system so I was subject to that. Didn't, I didn't mind that so much but when he turned around and re-introduced chauffeur driven cars for the politicians and silver service menus for the politicians in Parliament, all the time telling the rest of Victoria we have to tighten our belts, but I'd have liked to see the politicians tightening their belt first. Lead by example, not the other way around. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  So how did you vote? 

GRACE:  This time? 

JENNY BROCKIE:  This time? 

GRACE:  Nick Xenophon, both in the lower house and the Senate. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Why you vote for him? 

GRACE:  I actually chased up the policies of both, of all three parties including the Greens and I found that basically the Nick Xenophon team, every single policy I went through and went yep, yep, yep, get to one and think oh, I don't care either way, yeah that sounds good, not a problem, tick, just keep going.  

JENNY BROCKIE:  So again, you voted for the major parties for a very long time? 

GRACE:  Yeah, I used to vote Democrats when they were around because again they were middle of the road. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  So you've had a bit of an independent tendency? 

GRACE: Yes, but there was a…

JENNY BROCKIE:  Or middle of the road tendency? 

GRACE:  Middle of the road because there's got to be a compromise, someone else said it before, there's got to be a way to compromise. You don't have to, you know, make someone, you know, work for nothing just so you can make a profit, there's got to be a balance somewhere along the line and I think that's what's missing. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Well that compromise is going to be tested in this Senate for sure, that sense of compromise. What do you think of the major parties? 

GRACE:  The major, the major one for me is Bronwyn Bishop's $5,000, $5,000 taxi in a helicopter driving from Melbourne to Geelong.  And she was, she wasn't repentant. She didn't apologise, she just said oh, I'm entitled to do that. Okay, I'll pay the money back.  

JENNY BROCKIE:  Lyn, you're from Tasmania, you had a meeting that had a big influence on your vote this time round, tell us about that. 

LYN: Yeah, we made an appointment to go and see our local member and generally those meetings are fairly short anyway, I think usually after about twenty minutes they're trying to shuffle you out the door. And we said to him we need somebody to be a voice for us for medicinal cannabis and we were able to tell him some of our son's story which involved drug induced psychosis from anti convulsive therapy.  So we just finished telling him about fact that our son went insane and he was jumping out of moving vehicles and then he had the gall to say to us well, how do you know cannabis is safe? Nothing we've ever given him was safe, you know, like if your kids jumping out of a car, and I think it's just so out of touch and people want to have a voice with somebody that they feel they can talk to and be listened to. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  And be listened to even if the politician might not necessarily agree with you? 

LYN:  That's right. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Are you saying that you didn't feel listened to at all? 

LYN: At all.

JENNY BROCKIE:  So how had you voted?

LYN: We voted Liberal and I think the turning point was when I saw my friends begging Liberal Premiers and our Prime Minister for a drug that can save their lives because nobody should have to beg for their choices in health care. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  And so how did you vote at this election? 

LYN: We voted for anybody who would listen and we put the Liberals last. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  And who listened? 

LYN: We spoke to Jackie who was really…

JENNY BROCKIE:  Jackie Lamby? 

LYN: Open and honest and we got a real sense from her that she would move forward with us on this. We spoke to Derryn up at Mardi Gras at Nimbin and he spoke there to the crowd and took the time to listen to our stories and Derryn actually said that Australians should be able to home grow their cannabis if they choose to.  That's why we voted for him. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  So did you have that, did you feel you had that kind of access to the major parties?

LYN: From Labour, some really good support but we feel that they're somehow tied in, they have to tow the party line and Labour aren't going to legalise medicinal cannabis so I can grow it in my kitchen garden for my son. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Harriet, you've spent most of your life on the land in Queensland and you describe yourself as a rusted on conservative. What drove your vote away from the Nationals this time? 

HARRIET:  It started on the 14th of September last year, Jenny, the day that Malcolm Turnbull stabbed Tony Abbott in the back. I was absolutely horrified that our conservative party would behave in this manner. After what we'd had with the RGR years, everybody was horrified, I…

JENNY BROCKIE:  The RGR years they're called? 

HARRIET:  Yeah. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  The Rudd Gillard Rudd years, right, I've heard that before. 

HARRIET:  We were all horrified. In my opinion, I voted for Tony Abbott. I'm a bit different to a lot of people, I don't look what my local bloke is going to give me in my pocket or what roads, I look at who is going to lead the country. Everyone said you don't get to vote the Prime Minister in. I do.  If I don't want to vote for Malcolm Turnbull, I don't vote for my National Party member and I didn't. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Who did you have vote for? 

HARRIET:  I voted, first I voted below the line but my number one was Pauline. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  And why was that? 

HARRIET:  I like all her policies, I’ve always liked Pauline's strength. I think she's genuinely, as Caileb said, absolutely for Australia. She is 100 percent for Australia. I like all her policies on immigration, water, it's common sense.

JENNY BROCKIE:  And what do you think about the way the major parties are jobs and the future? 

HARRIET:  Jobs and growth, jobs and growth. I haven't seen anything Jenny, I don't, truly don't think they are addressing it. The debt is just going out of control, they will not address the debt these major parties and unless we do that nobody's going to have a job. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  So jobs an issue for you? 

HARRIET: Probably more outside the major cities but I just think with the end of the mining boom, I think there is a big problem with jobs for young people. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  And what are you scared of?

HARRIET: I am scared of terrorism and I am, and I seriously am. It's something that concerns me, I think it's something we're going to see more of in this country. I think it's something that's worldwide and starting to creep in a bit more and more here.  I don't think Islam and Christianity have ever really worked terribly successfully together.  I'm not saying forever either, I think we need a moratorium to take a halt on this to stop and take a bit of stock of it because I don't think the Muslims are assimilating as well as we would like them to assimilate at the moment in Australia. I know that with multi culturalism this becomes difficult because they don't have to, but I think if we don't take stock and look at what's happening in France and Germany and Denmark, well more fool us.  We've got to stop and take stock a little bit, I think, and look at it.

JENNY BROCKIE: Anyone want to comment on that, anyone else?

PAUL: Everyone calls Pauline Hanson a racist, Islam is not a race, it’s an ideology, so get it right.

IRENE: I don’t think she is a racist at all.

PAUL:  Yeah, it’s a Christians ideology.

JENNY BROCKIE: Yeah, it’s a religion, it’s not an ideology, it’s a religion.

MALE: that’s still being debated on by many people.

JENNY BROCKIE:  Yeah, well Islam is a religion.

MALE: It’s mono cultural basically.

JENNY BROCKIE:  Bill, your response to that?

BILL: Look, my, my mother's ancestors came out to Australia in 1846, 7, and in 1915 they were threatened with being locked up as enemy aliens in internment camps and they are, they'd been Australian citizens for 70 years and still people saying look, they're different, they're foreigners, they're a danger, they're a threat. I really hate compartmentalizing people on the basis of their origin or their ethnicity or their religion or whatever. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Harriet, I'm interested in why you see that problem as being the issue of terrorism as applying to all Muslims? 

HARRIET: We've had terrorism, we've had Martin Place, we've had these things happening Jenny, as we know, and it worries me, it frightens me. I'm not scared to say I would be too scared to take my grandchildren to somewhere very public with a lot of crowds, say South Bank in Brisbane at New Year's Eve or Brisbane Exhibition where there are massive crowds.  I literally would be too scared to take my grandchildren there these days.   That's how I feel. 

JENNY BROCKIE: Even though the odds of something happening are so incredibly…

HARRIET:  Even though the odds are, yeah…


HARRIET:  But those people that it does happen to, it's scary and I wouldn't do it. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  So it's changed your whole behaviour…

HARRIET:  It has. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  In terms of going out and doing things? 

HARRIET:  Absolutely has, yeah. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Therese, what did you want to say? 

THERESE:  I'd just like to say I think people should separate ISIS and Islam because they're to entirely different things and if the media stop fuelling all the negative publicity about Muslims in general, I think all this would never have happened in the first place. I blame the media a lot for it and ISIS is ISIS and you brought up the Lindt cafe, that guy was just a whacko, he was a whacko. 

HARRIET:  Why he did have the flag, why did he have the Islamic flag? 

FEMALE: Because he have buy one. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Let's get back to the voting because this is obviously a big factor in your voting Harriet.  Okay, one at a time.   This is a big factor in your vote? 

HARRIET:  Yes, I agree with Pauline. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  This is a big vote in your vote Rod? 

ROD:  It's not just about terrorism, with Islam it's like, it's not about racism because Muslims can be from any country, it's about investigating Islam, talking about it and making it not so politically incorrect to talk about it and to look into it and find out what the issues are and where the problems are stemming from.

JENNY BROCKIE: Anyone want to comment on that, anyone else?

GRACE: There has been already what people see as a terrorism act in a way of Martin Place and it's basically, I remember a program once calling that, there was the Islamic extremists are like the Klu Klux Klan that America.  They are the worst examples of a particular religion that you can possibly have. You can't blame all Muslims for these the Islamic terrorists, nor can you blame all of the Christianity for the Klu Klux Klan.

ROD:  You're not blaming all Muslims, you're blaming Islam, it’s not your course. 

GRACE:  Every religion has had people taking it out of context and using it for their own purposes and that's the issue. It's the extremists who have had that issue. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Viki, your response listening to this? 

VIKI:  I'm listening to the fear based stuff and I'm sorry that people are feeling scared but it's a deliberate act, it suits the media, it suits certain politicians to drive that fear so they can justify their position.  Do I agree with the divisiveness that sits around Islam? I know that that comes from ignorance, I know that they don't understand Islam. I'm not Islam, I'm not a Muslim, I have a member of my family that is. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Your daughter who is sitting right here? 

VIKI:  Yes, who is sitting here and listening and taking this in, but this is something that, I'm not going to speak for her but she lives with every day in our community and we're in the next division over from Harriet. Hinkler division was the second highest One Nation vote under Flynn in Australia and that was more representative of the people who are experiencing hardship, who are feeling disconnected from their leaders in the community and that's something in common that we're all saying and I think we've all come together for that reason. But she, she's tox, the reason why I use the word toxic because it's strong because she preyed on those people's vulnerabilities and it suited her. She will not solve any economic crisis, she will not make your power bills go down, she will not create jobs in your community. She is there on that platform and twenty years ago she was again driving another country's, being unwelcome as far as Asians were coming in. She's just shifted that over.

JENNY BROCKIE:  Okay Scarlett, your Viki's daughter, you converted to Islam when you got married. What's it like listening, there's been a lot of talk here tonight about…

SCARLETT:  Honestly I've been through that lot worse. Living and like I was born and raised in Bundaberg, you know, I am, I'm very Australian.  We live a very Australian lifestyle in our home. I have two young children.  The reason why I, I don't feel like I had many people to vote for because I felt like this election, especially people like Pauline Hanson or you had ALA running, their goal was to target the true battlers of this country in regional areas, in low socio-economic towns, and they're trying to grab their attention by scaring them. You have no reason to be fearful of me.

JENNY BROCKIE:  Have you had, do you know any Muslims Harriet? 

HARRIET:  No, I don't Jenny, I don't but I take…

JENNY BROCKIE:  Well could I introduce you to Scarlett, she's right here? 

HARRIET:  But I'd also like to tell Scarlett that I'm A not ignorant and I'm not from the low socio economic background that you say Pauline targeted all these silly people and frightened them. None of that.

JENNY BROCKIE:  Can you understand though why, you know, Scarlett would sit here and hear you say things about Muslims in general and be offended? 

HARRIET:  Jenny, are we not allowed to speak about a problem? 

JENNY BROCKIE:  No, no, you’re here to speak.

HARRIET:  Okay, but this is what the government is doing, this country is not allowed to have the conversation. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  But you are having the conversation? 

HARRIET:  We are tonight. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  And I'm asking you the question of, you know, what do you think it's like for Scarlett to sit here and hear you make those general statements about Muslims in general? 

HARRIET: I've got nothing against Scarlett. 

ROD:  The general statement about what she said. I'm against a lot of Islam, like I said, we had a man who is from Iran, who is Muslim who is now my best friend who came and lived with me for the first six weeks at our house.  We made him welcome, helped him find his house and now he's becoming a citizen.  He's a Muslim so…

HARRIET:  You don't have a problem? 

ROD:  So I don't have a problem with Muslims. I have a problem with Islam. Some of Islam, not everything. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  How is that different, how is that different? I mean…

HARRIET:  It's radically different. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Okay, but how is that different?  I mean a Muslim…

ROD:  There's advertisements you can't work in a meat works unless you're a Muslim because you need to be Muslim to kill them the right way and all that. So if I wanted to get a job there they can discriminate against me, my children as they grow up.  I come from a farming background, my first job was, one of the first jobs I had was in a meat works and now some of the jobs they say you can't have that job unless you're a Muslim. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Okay, Bill as someone who voted for a minor party as well, what’s your response hearing that?

BILL: Yeah, look my six year old granddaughter had a birthday party the other day and the theme was, was fairy princesses and all these fairy princesses… cause in our town there are just so many different nationalities there, so many different races that all the work… you know they cut the heads off the sheep and they pack the meat and all that sort of stuff, right. Anyway there were these kids turn up and there were dark skinned people, yellow skinned people, and white skinned people and what not, but didn’t matter what they are they are all, they were all kids born in Australia and they weren’t any of these races at all, they were fairy princesses and they were having this thing and I thought, what a wonderful thing that is you know, just kids sitting down, having a good time with no prejudice, there was no religion there was no crap, it was just kids enjoying each-others company. I don’t know why we have to compartmentalise people into this religion or that religion, I think it’s sad.

JENNY BROCKIE: Scarlett, can I just ask you what it's like for you at the moment living, where do you live? 

SCARLETT:  Bundaberg, and it has not been fun for me. I've been a Muslim for six years. I converted before I married my husband who was also born in Australia and he is of Turkish background, both his parents were born in Turkey and came to Australia. Now what it's like for me in Bundaberg is I don't feel like I can go out into public without somebody escorting me. I've had incidents where somebody had tried to run me over with their vehicle in the CBD.  I have had someone follow me home and beat my car with my two, with my four year and two year old in the car because I wear a hijab. You know, and I can't even imagine what it is like for a brown Muslim woman. I can't because, you know, it's obvious that I have become a Muslim later in my life. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  How did you vote at this election and how have you voted before? 

SCARLETT:  I voted for Nick Xenophon mainly because he was willing to hold the governments accountable.

JENNY BROCKIE:  How had you voted before? 

SCARLETT:  Liberal, because that's how my family voted and that's how I grew up. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  A lot of you here have moved away from the major parties for the first time towards minor parties, I'm interested in whether there are any leaders in the past that you've admired from the major parties? 

MALE: John Howard. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Let's do a bit of a whip around on that, Bill? 

BILL:  Yeah, Bob Hawke, mainly because he was born in Border Town. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Which is where you live? 

BILL:  Yeah, he was, he was.  Paul Keating.

JENNY BROCKIE:  Paul Keating for a National Party man, that's interesting why.  Did you like Paul Keating? 

BILL: I loved his sense of humour. I loves his way with words, he was so fast, he was so funny, he was good, good value. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Okay, who else? 

JENNY: The closest thing you had to a statesman I think, Jenny, Paul Keating, and you don't know what you've got till it's gone and I think a lot of people missed him when he went. 


HARRIET:  John Howard, Bob Hawke, I never voted Labour in my life but I admired Bob Hawke. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  What did you admire about Bob Hawke? 

HARRIET: I just thought he was an absolute Australian and he was for Australia and I thought he ran the country pretty well while he was there. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  But you never…

HARRIET: And no, I wasn't Labour.

JENNY BROCKIE: And you didn't vote for him? 

HARRIET:  No, never voted for him. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Okay, anyone else?  Okay, Rod?

ROD:  John Howard and Bob Hawke more because they come across a bit ocker and a bit like, you know, what you're sort of, you know, one of them, I think was it Bob Hawke or John Howard, yeah, Bob Hawke that skulled the beer at the cricket. You know, like not that I encourage drinking, you know, and sculling beers but just more that it was …

JENNY BROCKIE:  You felt you could connect? 

ROD:  Yeah, he just sort of, yeah, he just had a yoke about it and did it and didn't care, so yeah, likeable. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Okay, anyone else got leaders that they've liked? Therese? 

THERESE:  Gough Whitlam, Bob Hawke and John Howard. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Okay, that's an interesting mix? 

THERESE:  It is an interesting mix. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Yeah, so tell me a bit more about that? Why?

THERESE:  Gough Whitlam, when I was a very young girl I remember when he was coming into power and going to rallies and supporting the move to get him as Prime Minister. I just think he was a good Australian, good Prime Minister. Bob Hawke, I thought he was pretty awesome because of his, he's so Australian and I think John Howard and Peter Costello did a wonderful job with our economy. In fact I would have liked to see Peter Costello become Prime Minister. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Irene, you used to like Malcolm Turnbull but that changed, what changed and why? 

IRENE:  Again, the methodology of how he took the top job. I think the, the knifing Tony Abbott, I lost a lot of respect for him after that. I think he sort of has amounted to nothing.

JENNY BROCKIE:  What do you expect from politicians? Yes, Therese? 

THERESE:  Well I think someone like Malcolm Turnbull, how could he have any possible idea of reality? Like he's a billionaire, how could he know what it's like to go to the supermarket and do your groceries, counting how much money you're spending? He just doesn't live in a real world, he lives in his little fantasy world I'm sure. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  To what extent did you vote, was the vote a protest vote and to what extent was it a vote for things? 

HARRIET:  Jenny, if Tony Abbott had still been Prime Minister I would have voted National Party. Because of the way he was deposed I will never, ever vote for the LNP, Nationals or Liberal, until Malcolm Turnbull has gone.

JENNY BROCKIE:  Anyone feel their vote was more a protest vote than a vote for someone? Paul? 

PAUL:  Yeah, mine was just to give them a major kick up the backside. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  To give the major parties a kick up the backside? 

PAUL:  Yeah, the Liberal party, yeah. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Harriet, would you want someone like Pauline Hanson running the country? 

HARRIET:  Yes, I don't think she could do any worse than what we've got in the majors at the moment.

JENNY BROCKIE:  And how will you make a decision about whether she's delivered for you or not? 

HARRIET:    It's pretty hard, she's only a Senator, she can't do much from the position she's in right now except be true to herself and try to block all the bad legislation that's going through. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  So that's what you want her to do? 

HARRIET:  And accept and pass all the good legislation that's put up. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Viki, what do are you expecting from Nick Xenophon? 

VIKI:  I do expect him to be able to stop the government from approving more poker machines and I expect to see him driving how the working poor and that the divide between those who have and those who have not and those who are never going to get it, that he brings that voice up to the Senate when they're making those decisions. I expect him to behave responsibly for every Australian in this country and to not be divisive. I expect him to be a moderator. I actually believe he's got great leadership skills.

JENNY BROCKIE:  Grace, what do you expect from Nick Xenophon?

GRACE:  Basically, I think keep the bastards honest, it's essentially what the Democrats were.

JENNY BROCKIE:  And from the team I should say.  

GRACE:  Yeah. I’m hoping for yes, a moderator and someone who can actually compromise on some of the legislation that they put through and be able to dampen down the excesses of what I think the Liberal Party are capable of. 

JENNY BROCKIE: Lyn, what do you expect from Jackie Lamby? 

LYN: I expect honesty and drive and ambition and I think generally speaking Australians just want it to be shaken up, and I hope that she'll be a voice for suffering Tasmanians and Australians in general. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Gentleman over here, what did you want to say? 

MALE: Quite frankly I don't like any of the leaders, I don't like any, I don't think any of them really got their heart in Australia. They only got their heart is keeping their power. 

JENNY BROCKIE: Marnie, what do you expect now, what do you expect from Derryn Hinch? 

MARNIE:  I expect him to maintain the passion and the rage that got him there in the first place, which I have no doubt he will, you know, he's been…

JENNY BROCKIE: And do you expect specific achievements? 

MARNIE:  I expect he's going to push really hard for the national register of sex offenders. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Do those of who moved away from the major parties think you'll ever go back?

VIKI:  Never. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Never, Viki? 

VIKI:  Never going to happen. I've spent a long time involved with them and it's not going to happen. 


VIKI:  I think you've got to go to an individual that you connect with, that you believe they are going to do what it is that you want them to do and you've got to drive that.

JENNY BROCKIE:  Rod, do you think you'll ever go back? 

ROD:  I think there's a chance of it in the future, depending on where they take us.  If Liberal or Labour were to shake up their game and learn from what the people want and start to actually look after this country, and you know, start to rearrange all their free trade agreements and look after farmers and bring back manufacturing to Australia where we're going to make money and that's where jobs will comes from, you know, we're going to gain.  So yeah, I may change back.

JENNY BROCKIE:  Caileb, can you see yourself voting for the major parties at some point in the future? 

CAILEB: I'm voting for whoever sort of seems more authentic and puts the people first, whether that be a minor or a major party is indifferent. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Okay. What about you Grace, can you imagine yourself going back? 

GRACE:  I can, but that's only if the Nick Xenophon party disappears.

JENNY BROCKIE:  Bill, what do you expect from the Senate that you've just voted in? 

BILL:  I'm hoping that what will happen is that the major parties will lose their smug self-complacency and their sense of entitlement and start listening to we the people and do what we want instead of what they bloody want, that's what I hope. 

JENNY BROCKIE:  Thank you all very much for a very interesting evening, good to talk to you all, and that is all we have time for here but let's keep talking on Twitter and on Facebook. Thanks everyone.