The Proudly Australian Populist Discourse Analysis of Pauline Hanson’s Language
Keywords:populism, critical discourse analysis, Australia, immigration
The resurgence of populism across the world has favoured the formation of right-wing populist parties in Australia and energised Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party. The party has enjoyed two iterations of electoral success in the Australian federation, in the 1990s and from 2016. At present, Hanson is the leader of a party with two seats in the federal Senate and supporting the governing Liberal Party in Western Australia. At first glance, she may be seen as a typical xenophobic populist, yet her figure and her message present specific peculiarities which give her surprising popularity with Australian voters.
This paper analyses a corpus of some of the most controversial speeches delivered by Pauline Hanson during her political career, in a timespan ranging from 1996 to 2019. A Critical Discourse Analysis framework is employed to uncover the ideological discourse construed by the populist leader. She portrays herself as an ordinary Australian who acts in the name of the people and gives voice to the people. Her discourse entails the populist division between “the pure people” and “the corrupt elite,” imbued with racism, particularly towards Australia’s Indigenous population and a State perceived as favouring it, but also towards the Asian and Islamic communities.
Block, Elena and Ralph Negrine. “The Populist Communication Style: Toward a Critical Framework.” Political Studies 64.1 (2017): 88-104.
Cap, Piotr. The Language of Fear: Communicating Fear in Public Discourse. London: Palgrave, 2017.
“Carrol Halliwell Candidate for Dickson: How to Vote.” Pauline Hanson’s One Nation April 2019. https://www.onenation.org.au/our-team/carrol-halliwell/.
Deangelis, Richard. “Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party: Xenophobic Populism Compared.” Policy, Organisation and Society 16.1 (1998): 1-27.
De Cleen, Benjamin. “The Populist Political Logic and the Discursive Construction of ‘the People.’” Imagining the Peoples of Europe: Populist Discourses Across the Political Spectrum. Edited by Jan Zienkowski and Ruth Breeze. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2019. 19-42.
Demata, Massimiliano. “‘A Great and Beautiful Wall.’ Donald Trump’s Populist Discourse on Immigration.” Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict 5.2 (2017): 274-294.
---. “’I Think That Maybe I Wouldn’t Not Be Here If It Wasn’t for Twitter.’ Donald Trump’s Populist Style on Twitter.” Textus 31 (2018): 67-90.
Fairclough, Norman. Discourse and Social Change. Cambridge: Polity, 1992.
Goot, Murray. “Pauline Hanson’s One Nation: Extreme Right, Centre Party or Extreme Left?” Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History 89 (2005): 101-119.
Grant, Bligh, Tod Moore and Tony Lynch. The Rise of Right-Populism. Singapore: Springer, 2019.
“Hanson, Pauline. Biography.” Pauline Hanson’s One Nation 2016. http://www.onenation.com.au/paulinehanson#biography.
Hanson, Pauline. “Pauline Hanson’s 1996 Maiden Speech to Parliament: Full transcript.” The Sydney Morning Herald 15 September 2016 [10 September 1996]. https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/pauline-hansons-1996-maiden-speech-to-parliament-full-transcript-20160915-grgjv3.html. All websites last visited 30/01/2020.
Hogan, Jackie, and Kristin Haltinner. “Floods, Invaders, and Parasites: Immigration Threat Narratives and Right-Wing Populism in the USA, UK and Australia.” Journal of Intercultural Studies 36.5 (2015): 520-543.
Hutchens, Gareth. “Pauline Hanson Refuses to Apologise for Comments about Children with Autism.” The Guardian 22 June 2017.
Inglehart, Ronald F. and Pippa Norris. Trump, Brexit, and the Rise of Populism: Economic Have-Nots and Cultural Backlash. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Kenney School Faculty Research Working Paper Series, 2016.
Jagers, Jan and Stefaan Walgrave. “Populism as Political Communication Style: An Empirical Study of Political Parties’ Discourse in Belgium.” European Journal of Political Research 46.3 (2007): 319-345.
Jose, Jim. “’Manning Up’ with Pauline Hanson: Playing the Gender Card, Again.” The Rise of Right-Populism: Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and Australian Politics. Edited by Bligh Grant, Tod Moore and Tony Lynch. Singapore: Springer, 2019: 167-178.
Kingston, Margo. Off the Rails: The Pauline Hanson Trip. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin, 2001.
---. “Pauline Hanson and the Media.” The Sydney Papers 12.1 (2000): 1-7.
Laclau, Ernesto. On Populist Reasons. London: Verso, 2005.
Lee, Alfred McClung and Elizabeth Briant Lee. The Fine Art of Propaganda: A Study of Father Coughlin’s Speeches. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1939.
Lee, Michael J. “The Populist Chameleon: The People’s Party, Huey Long, George Wallace, and the Populist Argumentative Frame.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 92.4 (2006): 355-378.
Lloyd, Gabriella. “Australia’s Most Lauded Political Idiot: The Resistance to Pauline Hanson and her One Nation Party.” Diggit Magazine 06 December 2018.
Lynch, Tony. “Pauline Hanson’s One Nation: Right Populism in a Neoliberal World.” The Rise of Right-Populism: Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and Australian Politics. Edited by Bligh Grant, Tod Moore and Tony Lynch. Singapore: Springer, 2019. 43-62.
Maly, Ico. “Why Trump Won.” Working Paper. Tilburg: Rapid Social and Cultural Transformation: Online & Offline, 2016.
Maly, Ico and The Editors of Diggit Magazine. “Pauline Hanson, a Good ol’ Aussie.” Diggit Magazine 25 January 2019.
Moffit, Benjamin. “Contemporary Populism and ‘The People’ in the Asia-Pacific Region.” The Promise and Perils of Populism: Global Perspectives. Edited by Carlos De la Torre. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2014. 293-316.
---. The Global Rise of Populism: Performance, Political Style and Representation. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2016.
Morris, Meaghan. Identity Anecdotes: Translation and Media Culture. London: SAGE, 2006.
Mouffe, Chantal. For a Left Populism. London: Verso, 2018.
Mudde, Cas. “Europe’s Populist Surge: A Long Time in the Making.” Foreign Affairs 95 (2016): 25-30.
---. The Ideology of the Extreme Right. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000.
---. “The Populist Zeitgeist.” Government and Opposition 39.4 (2004): 541-563.
Mudde, Cas and Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser. Populism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.
Napolitano, Antonella. “Achieving Results for the American People: A Corpus-Assisted CDA of the White House Website Under Trump’s Presidency.” Politics and Populism Across Modes and Media. Edited by Breeze Ruth and Ana María Fernández Vallejo. London: Peter Lang, 2020. 79-103.
Ndhlovu, Finex. Language, Vernacular Discourse and Nationalisms: Uncovering the Myths of Transnational Worlds. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.
Oldfield, David. Before You Judge Me: Being David. London: New Holland Publishers, 2019.
“Policies: Bringing Back Australian Values.” Pauline Hanson’s One Nation 2018. https://www.onenation.org.au/policies/bringing-back-australian-values/.
“Principles and Objectives.” Senator Pauline Hanson 2017.
Putnis, Peter. “The Nature of News Discourse: Towards a Hanson Case Study.” Metro Magazine: Media & Education Magazine 109 (1997): 91-93.
Rapley, Mark. “Just an Ordinary Australian: Self-Categorization and the Discursive Construction of Facticity in ‘Racist’ Political Rhetoric.” British Journal of Social Psychology 37 (1998): 325-344.
Reisigl, Martin and Ruth Wodak. Discourse and Discrimination: Rhetorics of Racism and Antisemitism. London: Routledge, 2001.
---. “The Discourse-Historical Approach (DHA).” Methods of Critical Discourse Studies. Edited by Ruth Wodak and Michael Meyer. London: SAGE, 2015. 23-61.
Reyes, Antonio. “Strategies of Legitimization in Political Discourse: From Words to Actions.” Discourse & Society 22.6 (2011): 781-807.
Sengul, Kurt. “‘Swamped:’ The Populist Construction of Fear, Crisis and Dangerous Others in Pauline Hanson’s Senate Speeches.” Communication Research and Practice 6.1 (2020): 20-37.
Stahl, Michael and Brendan Spiegel. “Pauline Hanson is the Donald Trump of Australia.” Narratively 13 October 2016. https://narratively.com/pauline-hanson-is-the-donald-trump-of-australia-and-she-just-won/.
Stein, Sarah. “Legitimating TV Journalism in 60 Minutes: The Ramifications of Subordinating the Visual to the Primacy of the Word.” Critical Studies in Media Communication 18.3 (2001): 249-269.
Storm, Ingrid. “When Does Religiosity Matter for Attitudes to Immigration? The Impact of Economic Insecurity and Religious Norms in Europe.” European Societies 20.4 (2018): 595-620.
Taggart, Paul A. Populism. Buckingham: Open University Press, 2000.
Van Dijk, Teun A. Ideology: A Multidisciplinary Approach. London: SAGE, 1998.
---. “Ideology and Discourse Analysis.” Journal of Political Ideologies 11.2 (2006): 115-140.
Van Eemeren, Frans H. Strategic Manoeuvring in Argumentative Discourse: Extending the Pragma-Dialectical Theory of Argumentation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2010.
Van Leeuwen, Theo and Ruth Wodak. “Legitimizing Immigration Control: A Discourse-Historical Analysis.” Discourse Studies 1.1 (1999): 83-118.
Wodak, Ruth. “The Discourse-Historical Approach.” Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. Edited by Ruth Wodak and Michael Meyer. London: SAGE, 2001. 63-94.
---. The Discourse of Politics in Action: Politics as Usual. London: Palgrave, 2009.
---. The Politics of Fear: What Right-Wing Populist Discourses Mean. London: SAGE, 2015.
Wodak, Ruth and Bernhard Forchtner. “Introducing the Language-Politics Nexus.” The Routledge Handbook of Language and Politics. Edited by Ruth Wodak and Bernhard Forchtner. London: Routledge, 2017. 1-14.
Wood, Danielle, John Daley and Carmela Chivers. “Australia Demonstrates the Rise of Populism is about More than Economics.” Australian Economic Review 51.3 (2018): 399-410.
Young, Matt and Emma Reynolds. “Pauline Hanson Reveals She ‘Wants to Work with Muslims.’” News.com.au 29 August 2016.
Zheng, Tongtao. “Characteristics of Australian Political Language Rhetoric: Tactics of Gaining Public Support and Shirking Responsibility.” Journal of Intercultural Communication 4 (2000): 1-3.
Copyright (c) 2020 Antonella Napolitano
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.Iperstoria is an Open Access journal.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 BY-NC License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of their work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal. We require authors to inform us of any instances of re-publication.