News & Commentary, Visual Arts

What the arts should do about Pauline Hanson #2

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Chips Mackinolty responds to the question asked by Fotis Kapetopoulos in his article What should the arts do about Pauline Hanson? published on Daily Review on September 21.


Two decades ago saw a variety of responses to the rise of Hanson, including from the arts community, as Fotis Kapetopoulos outlined. The actions taken at the time that he outlines, along with current responses from a variety of political and multicultural groups, are worthy of strong support today from the Australian arts community.

dress sense

Back then, from the outpost of Darwin, Therese Ritchie and I laid in with critiques based on humour—at times savage—which among other things culminated in an exhibition in September 1998 called If you see this exhibition you’ll know we have been murdered, which toured the NT for a year afterwards.


There were Christmas cards and T-shirts and a decision to take up a post box as we started getting a bit of hate mail.


There was also a prominent story in the Melbourne Herald Sun which gave a positive spin on our attempts to take the piss out of her, and, need I say, the “gently does it” approach to her and her views.

Famously, Pauline Pantsdown also took to the Hanson manifestation of bigotry and hate with savage humour.

And long may she continue to do so.


Not a single response in Daily Review (thus far) has addressed the Kapetopoulos call to the arts community.

Most responses were an onanistic blathering about how we should respect the hundreds of thousands of voters who voted for Hanson’s Racism 2.0.

Or that criticisms of Hanson and her deeds are the slippery slope to the latté set being directly responsible for the rise of Trump.

20 years ago not everyone supported our approach of using humour and satire: I would hardly claim to have a monopoly on a “correct” response to the viciousness of racism.

However, Therese and I did not sit on our hands: nor should the current arts community.

This article was first published on Robert Gosford’s Crikey blog This Northern Myth 

12 responses to “What the arts should do about Pauline Hanson #2

  1. Sure, the arts community should vilify someone they don’t like, engaging in exactly the behavior that if directed at an individual such as a writer, an aborigine, an academic or a left-wing activist would have them up in arms and screaming “HATE SPEECH!”
    It also exposes the anti-democratic impulses of the overwhelmingly left-leaning arts community; Hanson was elected by some 600,000 voters, but apparently because the arts community doesn’t like Hanson they are stating that those people’s democratic choices do not count for anything.
    Rather than attempting to vilify the woman and her supporters and further marginalising the arts community in the eyes of much of the community, maybe the arts community should actually try and understand her and why people vote for her? Or is that too difficult a concept.

    1. You have a right to your own opinion. Hanson and Roberts have a right to their own opinions. The 600, 000 who voted for them have a right to their own opinions. The right to have your own opinion is not in question. However the right to one’s own opinion doesn’t make that opinion right nor exempt it from debate, discussion, dissection and disputation. There are no free passes. And 600,000 people can be equally as mistaken as 1 or 2. You have a right to your own opinion but you have no right to your own facts.

      Climate change is not a UN New World Order Socialist Conspiracy generated hoax. At 2% of the Australian populace, followers of Islam are unlikely to take over and impose Sharia Law and force anyone to eat Halal anytime soon. Refugees, being locked up on offshore prison camps and brutalized and murdered are hardly receiving favoured treatment.

  2. So Pauline got 600,000 votes? Uncle Adolph in 1932 got over 11,000,00o. Fortunately we in Oz can still continue to speak up,sing up, write up, act up and paint up when ultra-conservatives move to rule..

  3. Ian says
    Unicorn absolutely on the money.
    About time the half smart members of the arts community recognise who it is that funds their grants/dole ect

  4. TO me ,the “arts community is “NO DIFFERENT” in its VILLIFICATIONS it is ALSO HATE MONGERING!!! and HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE ?? in ITS OWN ATTITUDES and APPROACH , simple a bunch of “WITCH HUNTERS” in my opion

    1. Yes the strange arts animals attack anything that move. These bottom feeders became of their brilliance and honed skills in the workplace are what keep to doors swinging at CENTERELINK .
      Yes Pauline Hanson represents me and many more who live a normal like working to feed the arts grubs and our families.

  5. How about starting by making a distinction between PH as a person/human (not many know her as a person) and the attitude/behaviour she exhibits (of which there are many examples) and the driver/s behind her choice to be what/why she wants us to see – if we did the same to ourselves we (PH and us) would all be looking in the same direction (at attitude/behaviour) for we would find that we are the same (for brevity) – by separating the attitude/behaviour from the person and creatively taking the piss or any other creative/clever form forces us to focus on our own behaviour/attitude (like a mirror) – this is an ongoing form expression without end (for while ever humans exist) – the arts community are our mirrors and I thank all of them for that – after all, being alive is work in progress – viva la revolution (fresh air)!

  6. yep. Call her out on her racism. She doesn’t have any trouble being heard. We use whatever we have at hand – humour, ridicule, vision, argument- whatever. To the apologists for Hansonism. I know lots of people doing it tough who aren’t racists and are instead fiercely anti racist. And lots of people doing pretty well who are happy with her message. No excuses for racism. Ever.

  7. Uncle Adolf – and the NSDAP – despite the numbers of votes – never got above 42% of the vote – meaning 58% did NOT vote for him. So a mere 600,000 voted for Pauline – but many many millions did NOT! I think respect is due the many many millions who did NOT vote for Pauline and the blue-eyed climate denier who scored 77 in his own name – despite what George “Bigot” Brandis might aver.

  8. Gee. I thought the conservatives were all about free speech now? Everyone likes free speech until someone starts talking about them. The Hansonites in these comments are acting like the snowflakes they like to sneer at. I hope the arts community manages to find a way to offend every single Australian. That’s their job.

  9. It’s one thing to advocate free speech and democracy, it’s quite another thing to promote ignorance and irresponsible blather as if those things somehow equate with a reasoned and factual opinion.Too many irresponsible hate -speakers who clearly have no respect for differences of opinion have suddenly become champions of free speech. WTF!

  10. Can I say the “art” shown in the article is actually the most cliched agit-prop one can think of. Straight out of the 70s: Nostalgic really.

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