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Books and Ideas at Montalto

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David Marr

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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. 

Books and Ideas at Montalto

A series of thoughtful conversations about Australian literature – away from the city, at Montalto on the Mornington Peninsula.