As someone who has railed against the rise of the political class myself, I can, to a degree, understand the anger which has expressed itself in the election of people with no experience in governance.
But surely there must be some criteria, some selection process as to the appropriateness and capacity of the people to whom we hand the reins of the country.
As shown by our current government, formal education does not necessarily lead to enlightened altruistic public service.
But nor does coming up through the ‘school of hard knocks’ automatically confer the ability to grasp the complexities and responsibilities of being a member of parliament.
It is unlikely that any candidate would have an entirely pristine past but they must expect it to be examined and be able to withstand such scrutiny.
Which is why Pauline Hanson’s press conference in WA the other day was so bizarre.
She was there to launch her party’s campaign for the upcoming election but refused to talk about the candidates.
“I’m not going to have trial by media here, with all of my candidates. If this interview is going to be all about the candidates that represent me, I’m sorry, but this interview is finished,” Ms Hanson said.
“I am not going to stand here and continue a conversation with regards to these candidates. You are treating me totally different to the different political parties.”
“But it’s a very valid question, as it goes towards your candidate’s reputation,” a journalist is heard saying.
The question related to One Nation’s candidate for Dawesville, Lawrence Shave, and his plans to start a business called Bikini Baristas, in which scantily-clad women would sell coffee to consumers.
According to his facebook page, Ps Shave also has supernatural powers.
“I have been gifted with supernatural means as in Matthew 4:23-25 as many years ago I stood on the bow of a fishing trawler at (sic) said to the destructive cyclone that was coming upon us to destroy the boat, crew and myself “I command In Jesus Name to remove yourself from this ocean” the weather station in Perth said that its (sic) was the first time in history that the cyclone split in two, one going inland and the other half going out to sea.”
The pastor believes he has healing powers saying he wants to deal with the sick directly from the ministry of Jesus.
“So the Gifts of healing are given to the church to restore physical health by Supernatural means from the Holy Spirit.”
When asked by 6PR host Gareth Parker about his bikini baristas, Ps Shave channelled his inner Trump.
“If the uniform looks good, why not? They look good, I’m always attracted to them because I’m a man.”
Then there is ON Murray-Wellington candidate Ross Slater, who has been consistently outspoken about his opposition to same-sex marriage.
“Redefining marriage will shatter the natural family structure, society’s moral code and affect everybody, because it’s only the beginning,” Mr Slater said in a letter to the Bunbury Mail in July last year.
“Same-sex couples entertain hetero bashing by suing people who refuse assistance with their “wedding” or condone their lifestyle.
“Bible quoting, introducing adultery decoys and continually referring to the shining sun disguises devious attempts to dismantle a sacred institution gay couples are neither eligible for, nor respect.”
One wonders how he slipped past James Ashby who disendorsed Shan Ju Lin for saying “gays should be treated as patients” and that “Abnormal sex behaviour leads to abnormal crime.”
In 2004, Andrew Denton interviewed Pauline Hanson on Enough Rope about some of her ON colleagues during her first stint in parliament.
ANDREW DENTON: One Nation MP Jeff Knuth said, “It would be better “if the Aborigines went back to the pastoralists and said, ‘Can we just… We’re not going to take your land. We’ll just live on it and work for you if you’ll give us a bit of meat.'”
Your Health spokesman, Ray Danton, actually publicly questioned the statistics on Aboriginal infant mortality as though they might have been made up for some other reason.
PAULINE HANSON: There were some radicals that tagged themselves to me. They saw me come along and, you know, this woman came along and they thought there was their platform to go and say whatever they wanted to.
ANDREW DENTON: But he was your Health spokesperson.
PAULINE HANSON: Oh, look, I wouldn’t even know… I don’t even know who he is. I know Jeff Knuth actually won his seat.
Senator Brian Burston assures us that the new One Nation team is a world away from the rabble who won 11 seats in Queensland in 1998, imploded and took Hanson down with them.
“They ran dopes, unemployed, inexperienced, not all that intellectual … we’re more cohesive than the previous bunch,” Burston said. “We’re a more intelligent bunch for a start.”
That was, of course, before the Culleton debacle.
But Pauline says we should trust her choices because they all filled in a form and she spent 2 days chatting with them.
“I came here before Christmas, I spent two days interviewing the candidates that came forward at that time, I was very happy with the calibre of candidates in this state.”
On past and current performance, I think Pauline will take anyone she can get to bump up the numbers of the One Nation push for a New World Disorder.