REAL SHOW: Pauline Hanson is in there with a real chance of being elected to the Senate on July 2.
REAL SHOW: Pauline Hanson is in there with a real chance of being elected to the Senate on July 2. TERTIUS PICKARD

Hanson a real show in Senate says academic

PAULINE Hanson’s chances of election to public office are as good now as they have ever been according to a leading academic.

The full-Senate election will see 12 Queensland Senators elected by the people on Saturday.

University of Queensland’s Katharine Gelber, Acting Head of School and Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, said the public platform of Nick Xenophon Team, Glenn Lazarus Team, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and The Greens would assist at least the first candidate on the ticket for those parties, given the new Senate voting rules.

Ms Hanson was last in office in 1998 and is running for the Senate on Saturday. Her campaign has been a long and intensive one.

“Like anyone, she need about 7% of the vote to get in because it is a full Senate election,” Prof Gelber said.

“Pauline Hanson has run continuously in federal election campaigns since she was voted out and she has been very persistent.

“She has as good a chance now as she has ever had because it is a full Senate election which means she only needs half the percentage of votes statewide (compared to a half Senate election) to get a Senate seat. It is possible she will get that in that context.”

Prof Gelber said people were increasingly looking for non-major party groupings or individuals to vote for in the Senate.

“Combine the fact people are looking outside the major parties with the existing presence of people like Glenn Lazarus, The Xenophon Team, Pauline Hanson and Larissa Waters, who have all had seats before – although in Pauline Hanson’s case not for quite a long time – and it is anybody’s game,” she said.

“Voters can now vote above or below the line (for the Senate) as they used to be able to do but they must number a minimum of six boxes which means they direct where their preferences go.

“In the old Senate voting system people who voted above the line only had to put a one in the box of their choice, and then their preferences would be distributed according to the agreement that party or independent had made with other organisations about the distribution of preferences.

“That led to behind the scenes preferences deals where for example Ricky Muir was elected to the senate for Victoria with less than 1% of the primary vote.”

That situation cannot happen at this Senate election, where voting below the line has also changed.

“They can vote below the line for a minimum of 12 (candidates) and choose explicitly where you direct your preferences whereas before if you voted below the line you then had to number every single box,” Prof Gelber said.

“That meant by far the majority of people, maybe 96% or even higher, historically have voted above the line because to vote below the line meant numbering up to a couple of hundred boxes.”

Prof Gelber said there were several reasons why voters were looking outside the major parties when they cast their vote in the senate.

“There is a lot of disenchantment with the fact that the major parties converge on the far majority of issues and fundamentally agree on a whole range of things,” she said.

“There are some important differences. In recent times the Howard Government’s Work Choices campaign was vigorously opposed by Labor, but those points of difference are much more rare than they used to be.

“The other part of it is that there is a certain disillusionment with the process of globalisation, as is the situation we saw in the United Kingdom with the Brexit vote.”

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