MARCH: An optimistic Pauline Hanson breezed into Mandurah in March, just days before the State election. Despite receiving a warm welcome, her One Nation party did not do as well as expected in the following week’s poll.
Hanson arrived with her unique brand of retail politics to meet voters on the Eastern Foreshore, at the Mandurah Forum and at Meadow Springs Shopping Centre.
Ms Hanson, who was supporting One Nation’s Mandurah candidate Doug Shaw, stopped traffic on Mandurah Terrace, pressed the flesh with patrons at Deano’s Cafe and was bailed up by shoppers seeking selfies.
The charm offensive was the beginning of a week long tour of Western Australia ahead of the election and Ms Hanson said her campaign style had a personal touch that was missing from the aloofness of the major parties.
“Those people want to talk to me, they feel I’m approachable, and I think people know I’m there for the right reasons,” she said.
“I’m not a career politician, but I really care about this country and I really care about them.
“They see politicians come out of the woodwork at elections – same old electorate, same old promises – but they want a connection, they want a connection with their politicians.
“They want true representatives that are there for them and not these career politicians who are only in it for a white collar job for the next three years who say ‘I’m getting this, I’m going to get this out of it’. They're sick of it.”
And voters appreciated the attention.
One Nation supporters Tony and June Brown said they didn’t like all of Ms Hanson’s policies, but they liked that she was keeping the major parties accountable to the people.
Mr Brown was carrying a photo of himself taken with Ms Hanson in 1998 and was hoping for another.
“What she said when she came here 18 years ago was, ‘I’m here to keep the bastards honest’ and they back-pedalled when she first popped her head up and I think they panicked then and I think they’re panicking again,” he said.
“She’s got a lot of good policies and wants to impress the good old Australian way, that’s the way I look at it.”
Although Ms Hanson would not be drawn on federal issues, she did continue the defence of her party’s preference deal with the Liberals and blasted Labor, accusing them of misrepresenting the arrangement.
“Politics is a dirty game and the biggest issue I’m hearing about from the people is that they think my preferences are flowing to the Libs and I try to explain to them that, ‘no, you own your preferences’,” she said.