The recent success of Pauline Hanson's racist One Nation party in the Queensland elections presents new challenges for the progressive movement. Her repeated lie that the "white Anglo-Saxon male" is the most oppressed sector of Australian society is a statement which is inherently racist and anti-woman. Such a statement is also intended to lay the blame squarely upon Asian migrants and Aborigines for the economic and social problems created by the economic rationalist policies of Labor and Liberal governments.
One Nation's reactionary politics are a major concern for organisations involved in solidarity with the peoples' movements of the Asia-Pacific. This party's racist and protectionist ideology represents a block to the efforts of activists and organisations building people-to-people links and regional campaigns for human rights, social justice and democracy.
For organisations in solidarity with the campaigns for an independent East Timor and democracy in Indonesia, the response to One Nation is of crucial importance.
Hanson's pre-election press release,"Indonesian bailout should be linked to East Timorese pullout", poses this more sharply. This statement, a populist statement which points to the bankruptcy of both major parties in relation to East Timor, contains anti-Indonesian inferences and Australian nationalist references to "the obligations we have to our own defence". Some individuals in the East Timor solidarity movement have opted to promote this single statement on East Timor by Hanson as a positive development for the campaign for an independent East Timor.
ASIET strongly rejects this assertion. Such an association with One Nation by the East Timor solidarity movement can only serve to severely undermine support from migrants, Aboriginal people, women, gays and lesbians and other social groups scapegoated by Hanson.
Hanson's opposition to Asian immigration means she does not support the more than 1500 East Timorese refugees seeking asylum in Australia. Hanson is opposed to the provision of aid programs to developing nations in the Asia-Pacific for racist reasons. Hanson also believes that Australia should not abide by United Nations conventions and resolutions (as this supposedly threatens Australian "sovereignty"), many of which the East Timorese resistance believes will play an important role in the steps towards self-determination.
ASIET calls upon all activists and organisations in the East Timor solidarity movement to resolutely oppose One Nation and cooperate closely with those groups campaigning against its racist and reactionary agenda.