PAULINE Hanson’s One Nation looms as a major player in the WA State Election, but precisely how major is up for debate.
News last week that the party had struck a preference deal with Colin Barnett’s Liberals could help the government in the lower house, and help One Nation secure Legislative Council seats.
But will the help be enough for the Barnett Government to cling on to power?
Former Labor State Treasurer Eric Ripper doesn’t believe so – but said One Nation was likely to get the balance of power in the upper house.
“Can they actually organise themselves is a big question,” Mr Ripper said.
“I don’t think the preference deal with the Liberal Party will save many Liberals.”
Mr Ripper said the deal was a better one for One Nation than it was for the government.
“The first problem is One Nation takes votes mainly from the Liberal Party, not mainly from the Labor Party,” he said.
“Those how-to-vote cards have to get distributed and One Nation doesn’t have the organisation to do that.
“The third thing is One Nation voters are the sort of voters who swear at you as they go into the polling booth, refuse to take your how-to-vote card and declare that they know what they’re doing.
“They’re not people that are likely to follow orders.
“The fourth thing is that One Nation itself has said ‘we’re doing all of this so we can stop the privatisation of Western Power’. Well, which mainstream party wants to stop the privatisation of Western Power?”
But Paddy Embry, who was elected to the Legislative Council as the One Nation member for South West in 2001, feels the preference deal benefits both parties and could help save the Barnett government.
Mr Embry said the party was a throwback to an earlier time, and also appealed to those who were disillusioned by the major parties.
“What One Nation represents is probably Sir Charles Court’s (premier from 1974-1982) time, what the Liberal Party was in those days,” Mr Embry said.
“One Nation has a mixture of people who are older conservatives, but also people from the other end of the spectrum.
“(People who) haven’t got a decent job and some smart salesman has talked them into buying a house when they can’t afford it and probably a more expensive car than they can afford.
“They want a major change because they’re not getting a very good deal out of our political system.”
Mr Ripper agreed One Nation appeals to people who were getting a raw deal from life.
“I put it down to this: people are disappointed with what the political system is delivering them,” he said.
“Incomes are stagnant, they’re disappointed with what the economy is delivering them.
“They want something different, they’re tired of conventional politics.
“They’re looking like some Americans looked to Donald Trump, like some British people looked to Brexit.”
Jason Marocchi, the managing director of bipartisan independent advisory firm GRA Everingham, is a former advisor to several State Liberal leaders.
He said the preference deal would be a major threat to Labor in the seats of Collie and Albany, and could be helpful in others such as Darling Range, Southern River and Kalamunda.
But Mr Marocchi cautioned that the damage done to the Liberals in other seats may be too great for those to matter.
The party’s stance on Islam may be well documented, but many of its other policies are unknown.
There are three areas of policy listed on the party’s website for WA: ‘Crime and Policing’, ‘Clean Government’ and ‘Infrastructure’.
On Tuesday morning last week there was a fourth which pledged to end “decades of political anti-chiropractic discrimination”, but it was removed later in the day.
Five One Nation policies for WA:
Reduce immigration levels to ease pressure on Perth.
Encourage population decentralisation and the development of Bunbury.
Introduce ‘broken windows’ legislation: coming down hard on minor offences with juveniles in particular.
Addicts must cover the costs of their mandatory treatment
Fund an extra 1000 police officers.