'I cop this shit all the time and I'm sick of it': Pauline Hanson, the far right and the politics of victimhood in Australia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter critically explores the role of victimhood in the politics of Australian populist radical right politician, Pauline Hanson. Drawing on critical discourse analysis, it argues that the strategic construction of victimhood has been central to Pauline Hanson’s political career, from her first iteration as a parliamentarian in the 1990s to her contemporary resurgence in 2016. Like all right-wing populists, the self-perception of being permanently the victim is a narrative frequently employed by Hanson. I show how Hanson’s victimhood is first and foremost constructed in the personal, with Hanson herself claiming to be a victim of the political elite. ‘The people’ are also said to be victims of the elite, who are conspiring with minorities to deprive the ‘true people’ of their ‘culture’, values and sovereignty. This victimhood manifests in a number of ways, including the belief in the existence of so-called anti-white racism or reverse racism, the promulgation of conspiracy theories and the rejection of the realities of Whiteness in Australia. This chapter explores how Pauline Hanson constructs herself as the embodiment of the ‘the people’ whereby any criticism of her is framed as an attack on her supporters and demonstrates how this has been strategically weaponised by Hanson during times of political scandal to gain sympathy and mitigate criticism. More broadly, this chapter locates Hanson’s politics of victimhood within far-right discourses in Australia. This kind of research is important to our understanding of how the far right draws on mythologies of victimhood and grievance and the implications of this for challenging whiteness in Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHistories of fascism and anti-fascism in Australia
EditorsEvan Smith, Jayne Persian, Vashti Jane Fox
Place of PublicationLondon ; New York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781000816310, 9781003120964
ISBN (Print)9780367638122, 9780367638139
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Fascism and the Far Right


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