The VICE Guide to Right Now

One Nation Is Now as Popular as the Greens

If a federal election was held today, Pauline Hanson's party would draw 10 percent of the primary vote.
26 February 2017, 11:18pm

One Nation has more than doubled its support since last November. According to the latest Newspoll, if a federal election was held today, Pauline Hanson's motley crew of climate-denying patriots would draw 10 percent of the primary vote. That's the same amount of support enjoyed by the Greens.

For perspective, the Greens have long been considered Australia's third party—a progressive choice favoured by voters disillusioned with what Labor and the Coalition have to offer. The party has amassed support relatively slowly over time. In contrast, One Nation's resurgence has been swift and brutal. And just as the Greens have detracted from the ALP's voter base, One Nation is eating into support for the Coalition. The Government now trails Labor by 45 to 55 percent on a two-party preferred basis.

This latest Newspoll is the eight in a row to place support for the Coalition behind Labor. It's the worst position the Government has been in since Malcolm Turnbull ousted Tony Abbott to become leader. And, in recent days, the former PM has been vocal in recent days about how he thinks the party should reform itself by leaning way harder to the right. George Christensen and Cory Bernardi both agree, with the latter breaking from the Liberal party and striking out on his own with the newly-formed Australian Conservatives party. However, Malcolm Turnbull has been able to hold onto his lead over Bill Shorten as preferred Prime Minister.

So what exactly is One Nation doing that's proving so popular with the electorate? Since November, the party has notably backed Donald Trump's Muslim travel ban, been very confused about climate change, and criticised highly paid CEOs like Australia Post's former chief Ahmed Fahour for being "out of touch." It's also advocated for greater access to medicinal cannabis, and gained the endorsement of Australia's weird uncle, Ozemite inventor Dick Smith. Somehow, this mishmash of populist rhetoric is working: at this rate, Pauline Hanson will be Prime Minister within the decade. Don't say we didn't warn you.

Follow Kat on Twitter