tbf to the Australian electorate, her fleeting success was, I think, more attributable to a dissatisfaction with the three major parties, and their convergence on lots of issues, particularly free trade and economic rationalism. Country voters, particularly in Queensland and country NSW have felt extremely betrayed by the National party over its failure to protect them, as they see it, from having trade protection stripped away while not gaining access to markets. Many in the country feel their way of life is dying out while the National party, their traditional champion, has become a joke of an appendage to the economic rationalists of the Liberal party in their eyes. At the same time, memories were then fresh of Keating's reformist agenda and disinterest in their plight, so not many people wanted to look to the ALP for help.Originally Posted by FaaipDeOiad
Hanson was a product of, and captured, this dissatisfaction. Her xenophobic (please explain) and inflammatory policies on aboriginal issues were the lightning rod for the media attention she needed, and honestly probably did play to some bigotry out there, but she wouldn't have gained traction or got the support she did if she hadn't emerged at a time when support and confidence in both major parties was at an all time low. The fear of foreigners stuff was tacitly and/or explicitly adopted by Howard - but I think that this issue resonated with people because they felt they were losing their way of life and control over their environment, not because they were "pre-existing" racists. The refugees were a scape-goat for what people felt was their growing impotence in a world we were being told we would have to adjust to, rather than seek to control.
The fact that Hanson's agenda didn't really over any constructive solution to these problems, and that the major parties soon realised they'd lost the confidence and attention of the people, was reflected in the swiftness with which Hanson's support disappeared. By the time she went to jail, she was largely considered a joke and an embarressment.