Hoodwinked: How Pauline Hanson fooled a nation

Reviewed By  Janet Mawdesley       November 18, 2018


Author  Kerry-Anne Walsh

Distributor:      Allen and Unwin
ISBN:                 9781760112288
Publisher:         Allen and Unwin
Release Date:   October 2018  

Website:    https://www.allenandunwin.com/browse 

Who is the real Pauline Hanson? A battler for the under-represented minorities, the ‘people’ of Australia, or an out and out opportunist that has managed to ‘Hoodwink’ the public of Australia since her rise and fall and rise into Australian politics beginning back in 1996, a time when the political scene in Australia was changing, not necessarily for the better.

In this well researched work by Kerry Anne Walsh, a keen observer of Politics in Australia, from her vantage point in the press gallery of Canberra for more than twenty-five years, where she held the position of as a Senior Correspondent for print, radio and TV, she presents a clear perspective on this woman who has fascinated a Nation with her wild and colourful management of life in the public arena.

When Hanson first emerged as a serious contender for change in the world of politics, she used her background as the owner of a Fish and Chip shop as her banner; one guaranteed to appeal to the everyday man, the battler, the person that politicians always seemed to overlook in their scramble to the top of the heap.

This saw her lead One Nation to holding some serious credibility in Parliament during her first appearance in the halls of power during the years of 1996-1998. Much of her rhetoric was not strictly founded on fact but had an appeal to a Nation who were fast becoming disenchanted with the sad and sorry state of Politics in general.

Her subsequent slide from grace out of the halls of Canberra saw her not altogether disappear from politics, but just reappear from time to time slightly more outrageous and often in a far more appalling manner, only to once again be elected to represent the people in 2016, once again on the premise that she represents the underdog.

But does she? Or is she a woman who is a master at gaining exactly what she wants from life; that of fame, money, notoriety and control? This is the perspective that has been placed under the spotlight with the findings making interesting and informative reading about Pauline Hanson, a woman who has managed to achieve much on initially very little, has scant regard for the rules and plays the field as she sees fit, a tactic which has resulted in scandal, disgrace and as she would consider victimisation.

Whatever you may think of this colourful, not always honest or direct woman, she is certainly someone who has built a brand devoted to Pauline Hanson, one that delivered what many would consider the good life, has lead to a sizable bank balance and still perpetuates the myth that she is there for the battler, the ordinary bloke and the strong belief that Australian values, whatever they may be, need to be upheld.

Hoodwinked presents a very honest, clear picture of the woman who did and does continue to do what she has been able to do, because the opportunity was and is presented by the disenchantment of the public to Politics and politicians in general, which opens the door very wide indeed for people such as Pauline Hanson, who, upon entry into the green and fertile territory known as Canberra, flourish.