While the lack of effectiveness from the far right in Australia is a good thing, apparently it’s more to do with incompetent leadership more than anything else.
According to submissions to the Senate nationhood inquiry from two academic experts (via The Guardian), Glenn Kefford and Duncan McDonnell, Australia has avoided a big populism (a political approach that tries to appeal to “ordinary” people by emphasising that their concerns are being disregarded by the “elite”) problem only because leadership on the far right is so bloody useless.
The pair submitted that “radical right populism” was nothing more than a “marginal force” in Australia compared to European countries such as Australia, Finland and Italy.
Noting how Australia and major Western European nations are similar in terms of how democracy functions, Kefford and McDonnell note that the only reason why the far right doesn’t wield more power compared to European countries is due to “leadership problems” rather than any desire for right-wing politics and noted the “turmoil that has plagued a party such as One Nation” as an example.
So in other words, Pauline Hanson did us all a favour.
That being said though, Kefford and McDonnell warn us to not underestimate the potential rise of populist parties in Australia. The pair not only urged major political parties to defend multiculturalism while putting parties with a populism kink at the bottom of every voting card, they also warned that major parties doing “short-term deals” with extremist groups “legitimises” their positions and puts democracy at risk.
Sounds like we’ve been riding on a wave of right-wing leadership incompetence, but now’s the time to keep an eye on them just in case a few of these folks wise up and start to stir the pot with some semblance of competence.