Could you include us but not them?

On Sunday we were anticipating the result of the federal election. It’s Tuesday and we still don’t have a lot of clarity. We should by the end of the day who has won each seat, but if there is a hung parliament it might take a while to work out whether the Coalition or ALP can form government. In the meantime I have seen a lot of people freaking out about the fact that Pauline Hanson will be back in the senate. In the 1990s she was saying that we were being ‘swamped with Asians. Now it seems she isn’t so worried about Asians – unless they’re Muslim. I’ve seen a lot of people ridiculing her and have to admit I have joined in on that. I laughed at Sam Dastyari’s offer to take Hanson out for a halal snack pack.

Meanwhile, I’ve also been annoyed by the ALP and Coalition’s determination that they will not work with the Greens to form government, and I know a lot of my fellow lefties have felt excluded by this. In the seat of Melbourne some of us have been asking, ‘Does my vote not count?’ We’ve gotten responses like, ‘Maybe this will teach you not to vote for the Greens!’ A lot of people are still unhappy about the ALP working with the Greens when Julia Gillard was Prime Minister. I think it is a bit ridiculous for those of us who are at the left end of the political spectrum can expect our voices to be included if we are at the same time marginalising people from the other end of the spectrum. I certainly don’t agree with Hanson’s brand of nationalism but I think we need to listen to what she has to say. She represents people who haven’t benefited from the strength of our economy and are afraid that their voices don’t matter. I don’t agree with their fear of Asians and Muslims but I also think that further marginalising Hanson’s supporters is just going to make the problem worse.

What I am basically suggesting is that we should treat others as we’d like to be treated. If we ask our society to include our voice but not theirs, we will find that the voices at both ends of the spectrum are excluded and ridiculed.

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