By framing secular society as a Christian creation, Hanson’s revival goes beyond simple racism

This article is part of the Democracy Futures series, a joint global initiative with the Sydney Democracy Network. The project aims to stimulate fresh thinking about the many challenges facing democracies in the 21st century.


Across the Western world we have seen the rise of right-wing populists such as Donald Trump in the US, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands and Marine Le Pen in France. They have seized on Western fears of Islamic invasion and translated them into votes.

The political resurrection of Pauline Hanson and the appearance of a poll indicating that 49% of Australians wish to stop Muslim immigration suggest right-wing populism has found fertile ground in Australia.

The rise of the populist right tends to be rationalised as either the resurgent racism of white people, manifesting as Islamophobia, or as a protest vote against the negative effects of globalisation.

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