ness in Mrs. Hanson than their Southeast Asian eounterpartsrn(including hidonesia’s Ambassador to Australia, Wiryono Sastrohandoyo,rnand the Bangkok Post) did the same thing. (Thernreadiness of Asian regimes to deal with domestie opposition byrnputting it before a firing squad and running eleetric currentsrnthrough its genitalia was considered unmentionable.)rnMalaysia’s de facto dictator Dr. Mahathir called Mrs. I lansonrn”moronic,” and tried to frighten her compatriots by threateningrnto recall every Malaysian student at Australia’s universities. Hernconveniently failed to acknowledge the reason these studentsrnwere in Australia at all: the civil disabilities his own governmentrnimposes upon Malaysia’s Chinese population, disabilitiesrnwhich bar even—or especially—the most intelligent Chinese-rnMalavsians from educational opportunities in their homeland.rnDeputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer and Victoria’s Premier JeffrnKennett both wailed about the allegedly horrific damage thatrnMrs. Hanson’s “anti-Asianism” would do to Australia’s exports.rnThe tourism “industry” responded to a slight post-Hansonrndownturn in trade b the only method that Australian “industry”rnhas ever considered legitimate: it demanded a $20 millionrnfederal grant to console it for lost revenue.rnAt this stage (late September and eady October) Mrs. Hansonrnthe individual, as distinct from Mrs. Hanson the generalizedrnForce of Darkness, was still largely unknown outside thernranks of those masoehists who watch parliamentary telecasts.rnFew Australians could recognize her in the street, for instance.rnThat changed on October 20, when a 60 Minutes documentaryrnentitled “The Hanson Phenomenon,” with smirking anchorpersonrnTracey Curro, went to air. Miss Curro and her cohortsrnmoaned about all the statistical horrors of Aboriginal existencern(a life expectancy almost 20 years shorter than for Caucasians;rnan infant mortality rate twice the national ayerage) as if Mrs.rnHanson were personally responsible for them. Though the 60rnMinutes team had hoped to destroy Mrs. Hanson, they failed altogether.rnFven their on-eamera diseover” that Mrs. Hansonrnhad never heard the word “xenophobic” before (she tried tornconceal her ignorance of it by snapping at Miss Curro, “Pleasernexplain”) gave them no tactical or moral advantage. Everyrnopinion poll before October 20 had been overvyhelminglv pro-rnHanson. The Roy Morgan Research Centre’s finding that 66rnpercent of respondents agreed with Mrs. Hanson’s views onrnAsian immigration was actually among the more eonseryatiernoutcomes. Radio and television phone-ins in Australia’s largestrnand most cosmopolitan cities (where one would have expectedrnthe anti-Hanson vote to be largest) invariably produced at leastrnfour pro-Hanson callers to each anti-Hanson caller, even afterrnOctober 20. Despite Miss Curro’s best efforts, the Beast of thernApocahpse was obviousK not dead, mereh’ sleeping. Strongerrnmeasures than ordinar television grillings were called for.rnOn November 30, the front of the Sydney Morning Herald’srncolor supplement boasted a vampirical face with bloodstainedrnlips, exuding hatred. The face, predictably enough, was a gimmickrnphoto of Mrs. Flanson; and the story itself by a DavidrnLeser recounted every enial sin of Mrs. Hanson since the eadyrn196()’s, in the hope of conhrming her status as evil incarnate.rnNot only did this expose reflect no intellectual credit upon thernrag that published it, but even as a sales device it misfired.rnNewsagents in working-class regions of New South Wales (andrnthere is no reason to believe that things were different in Victoria,rnwhere the same piece was run by Melbourne’s The Age) reportedrntheir lowest Sydriey Morning Herald sales that day inrnmonths.rnWhy Mrs. Hanson bothered to give Mr. Lcser five minutesrnof her time, let alone to invite him to a home-cooked mealrn(“‘My private life is my private life,’ she says indignantly as wernsit at her dining table”), is among the genuine (as distinct fromrnmedia-invented) mysteries of her character. Even after enduringrna campaign of the purest hatred, she appears unable to takernthe simplest precautions against her tormentors: such as an insistencern(which her office staff should have enforced from thernbeginning) on keeping her own tape-recorded evidence ofrnwhatever she has said. Here is the oleaginous Mr. Leser, afterrnhaving made his victim cry:rnFinalK’, the tears and mirth roll together as she says, withrndripping sarcasm, “Yeah, I just love all this controversy. Irnreally do. I just love sitting on a knife’s edge with myrncredibilit)’ and integrity and all the rest of it just aboutrndown the drain.”rnFor a brief moment I actually feel sorry for her. . . . Butrnthe moment passes and what I see again are the cold,rnsharp features of bigotry and racism and I am remindedrnof how far we still have to go to expunge this from ourrnmidst.rnA more substantial fault in Mrs. Hanson (one which, unlike herrnrefusal to prevent misquotations of her thought, damages othersrnas well as herself) is her economic naivete. With her autarkicrnlongings, she can be charged with the same sin of which BillrnKauffman {Chronicles, February 1996) accused Pat Buchanan:rn”Clayite advocacy of a protectionism that amounts to a blankrncheck for the most powerful industries and most cunning lobbyists.”rn(If Australia’s yelfare state apologists had any morernbrains than I lomer Simpson, they would for this very reason berncheering every time Mrs. Hanson entered a room.)rnThere is one, and only one, excuse for Australia’s immigrationrnlevels: the inability of the average Australian citizen torndo any work at all, however exorbitant his yages and howeverrnurgentl}’ the work needs doing. In attributing to the nonimmigrantrnlabor force a self-reliance which most of it is too stupid,rntoo drunk, too illiterate, and too ovine even to hypothesizernabout, Mrs. Hanson could be justly reproached for exacerbatingrna smugness that was pervasive to start with. On the otherrnhand, no one knows better than she the insane!) high joblessnessrnlevels among migrant communities (30 percent for SoutheastrnAsians and Lebanese in Sydney’s poorest western suburbs)rnand the pernicious futility of “family reunion” stratagems, byrnwhich immigrants are severely disadvantaged if they speak serviceablernEnglish. (Nor has anvone else had the courage to staternpublicly, as NIrs. Hanson does in a new book, that certain Aboriginesrnpracticed cannibalism.) Without ever having heard ofrnGeorge Gilder, Mrs. Hanson nevertheless can boast enoughrnhorse sense to reject his I loratio Algerish delusions. Supposingrnthe entire Australian multicultural apparatus were abolished atrnthe wave of a wand, its human casualties would persist: a millionrnFlying Dutchmen for whom the shore offers not merely nornresting place but no hope of an income; the unemployable andrnunintelligible in hot pursuit of the unimaginable.rnStill, shortly before summer’s parliamentary recess. ImmigrationrnMinister Philip Ruddock (a tenth-generation photostat,rnas it were, of Eari Wirren) made vague promises of possibly imposingrnlanguage tests on future would-be migrants. Not (hernquickly assured us) that there could be any question of serious-rn22/CHRONICLESrnrnrn