Books and Ideas at Montalto
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In previous Quarterly Essays, David Marr has turned his merciless pen to powerful men of the establishment: George Pell, Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott and Bill Shorten. In his new biographical essay, however, Marr’s subject is a self-styled populist outlier and a woman: Pauline Hanson.
As Australian political figures go, they don’t come much more colourful than Hanson. Her divisive speeches and curious catchphrases are etched into the memories of many Australians, from the maiden speech to Parliament (‘we are in danger of being swamped by Asians’) to the famous response to the question of xenophobia on 60 Minutes (‘Please explain?’). Then there was the prison stint, the Dancing with the Stars stint, and the extraordinary recent comeback. The former fish-and-chips shop owner is both loved and loathed. And she’s a serious threat to both major parties, with climbing national approval figures.
Today, Hanson has much in common with other anti-immigration, protectionist and populist political figures gaining traction across the world. At Montalto, David Marr joins Sally Warhaft to discuss Pauline Hanson and the uniquely Australian strain of the politics of resentment.
David Marr is the author of Patrick White: A Life, Panic, The High Price of Heaven and Dark Victory (with Marian Wilkinson). He has written for the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age, the Saturday Paper, the Guardian and the Monthly, and been editor of the National Times, a reporter for Four Corners and presenter of ABC TV’s Media Watch.
He is the author of five bestselling Quarterly Essays in addition to the latest, Quarterly Essay 65, The White Queen: One Nation and the Politics of Race.
Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer. She hosts the Fifth Estate, the Wheeler Centre’s live series focusing on journalism, politics, media, and international relations, now in its ninth year. She is a former editor of the Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia.
Sally is a regular host and commentator on ABC radio and has a PhD in anthropology. She did her fieldwork in Mumbai, India, living by the seashore with the local fishing community.