I have explained why I feel that Pauline Hanson is stupid, divisive and embarrassing already, so I completely understand Murrandoo Yanner’s anger towards her this week. The aboriginal elder confronted Hanson when she attempted to enter an indigenous art fair with a Channel Nine news crew. In a loud outburst that was captured on video, Yanner labels Hanson intellectually dishonest, a racist and a redneck and explicitly calls her out for her treatment of Muslims.
This video has been widely shared and almost celebrated by many of Hanson’s critics. I have seen many posts on social media lauding Yanner’s behaviour. Seeing a woman who campaigns on platforms of intolerance being shown little tolerance themselves no doubt appeals to many people’s sense of irony and justice.
Whilst I don’t think Yanner should be in any hurry to apologise, I still think he could have chosen a better course of action. Any public interaction where Hanson gets to behave like she is the reasonable one or paint herself as a victim is potentially counterproductive. Hanson, to her credit, played the situation pretty well. She remained calm through the tirade and walked away, albeit looking a little uncertain. She later posted a measured response with little rancour in which she invited the aboriginal elder to work with her to address challenges for his community.
Based on some of her previous statements on indigenous affairs, Yanner had every right to be hostile to Hanson and tell her she wasn’t welcome. And what the hell was she doing with a TV news crew? Was she looking for this controversy or just intending to use the event as a backdrop for some grandstanding statements. Either way, I have no problem with Yanner telling her she wasn’t welcome.
I just wish he hadn’t given her the opportunity to talk about the distress of having received ‘abuse’ as she can spin this to gain sympathy. Much like the vandalised election signage of politicians such as Dutton and Whitely, those who celebrated the incident were never going to vote for Hanson anyway. However those who were undecided about her could have actually been made more supportive. If Yanner had simply said in a calm voice, “I’m sorry Ms Hanson you are not welcome here because you are a divisive racist,” Hanson wouldn’t have had the same opportunity. In fact, if he had stayed calm for the whole incident, she probably would have reverted to type pretty quickly and viciously, embarrassing herself in the process.