The White Queen: One Nation and the politics of race (Quarterly Essay 65) by David Marr

Reviewed by
May 2017, no. 391
Lucas Grainger-Brown reviews 'The White Queen: One Nation and the politics of race' (Quarterly Essay 65) by David Marr

The White Queen: One Nation and the politics of race (Quarterly Essay 65)

by David Marr

Black Inc., $22.99 pb, 139 pp, 9781863959070

The White Queen: One Nation and the politics of race (Quarterly Essay 65) by David Marr

Reviewed by
May 2017, no. 391

David Marr’s interlocking identities as consummate essayist, journalist of forty-five years, ferocious biographer, and staunch cosmopolitan increasingly eclipse his subject. He wears the condition honestly and inelegantly. ‘I’m a grumpy old guy who hasn’t found in twenty years another big life worth writing’, he remarked in his 2016 Seymour Biography Lecture. Instead, ‘I write little lives these days, of priests and politicians.’ After his magnum opus, Patrick White: A life (1991), Marr adapted his biographical skill to mapping the littleness of a powerful few – each in the brevity of a Quarterly Essay. Pauline Hanson is his latest ‘little life’. In The White Queen: One Nation and the politics of race, the two themes of his oeuvre – frustrated biographer of an ex parte national life and forensic reporter of political controversy – entwine as he sets out to prove that Australia is better than our irrepressible white queen.

Lucas Grainger-Brown reviews 'The White Queen: One Nation and the politics of race' (Quarterly Essay 65) by David Marr

The White Queen: One Nation and the politics of race (Quarterly Essay 65)

by David Marr

Black Inc., $22.99 pb, 139 pp, 9781863959070

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Comments (2)

  • Thanks for your comment Lt. Fred. I agree that the Senate voting reform was not the sole cause - or even the major cause - for One Nation's resurgence. But I disagree that it had no impact on the number of seats won.
    The hypothetical case given in the article you cite refers only to the probability of One Nation winning a single seat in Queensland in the absence of a double dissolution and senate voting reform. One Nation with just one Senator - Hanson - is manifestly different to its current voting bloc and its influential position as the largest non-government Senate party after the Greens and Labor.
    I refer to this passage in the article: 'If Hanson were to have polled the same vote in Queensland as she did at a half-Senate election conducted under the old system, she would have been very likely to win anyway. It is true that Malcolm Turnbull’s decision to call a double dissolution has helped One Nation win additional seats, as it has helped other small parties.' Add to this the fact that the voting reform allows voters to dictate their own preference flows, and the major-party alliance to preference One Nation last becomes less effective.
    But I take your larger point that there is significant support for One Nation - the largest in fifteen years or so - and that should be the focus going forward. Additionally, I think any pro-democracy reforms, of the kind done here on preferences, is a positive even if it has a side effect like Malcolm Roberts.
    Posted by Lucas Grainger-Brown
    Saturday, 06 May 2017 13:50
  • A small note: you make reference to Hanson's comeback asa product of (inter alia) "Malcolm Turnbull’s Senate voting reform". This is entirely false. Hanson would certainly have won the same number of Senators under the previous system, and may indeed have won more.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/jul/06/senate-reform-did-not-cause-pauline-hanson-to-return-heres-why
    Posted by Lt. Fred
    Thursday, 04 May 2017 08:21

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