The political satirist who created Pauline Pantsdown is considering bringing the character out of retirement after Pauline Hanson’s performance in Saturday’s election.
Simon Hunt, a University of New South Wales media lecturer and LGBTI activist, shot to fame in the 1990s with two songs parodying Ms Hanson and the One Nation Party.
Hunt told the ABC he had fielded dozens of messages since Saturday’s result, which saw Ms Hanson’s party secure enough votes in Queensland for at least one Senate seat.
“I’ve had about 75 messages saying ‘we’re assuming Pauline Pantsdown will be back’,” Hunt said.
“I’m not sure yet, but it’s what people want. I don’t know whether it’s useful or not.”
In the ’90s, Hunt released the singles I Don’t Like It and Backdoor Man, a song for which Ms Hanson sued the ABC for defamation when it was played on triple j.
Hunt’s parodies involved meticulously clipping audio from Ms Hanson’s interviews and re-arranging them to create songs. Given advancements in audio production, he said it would be “a lot easier” to create new content than it was in the 1990s.
The Pauline Panstdown character was phased out when Ms Hanson’s political influence waned in the early 2000s, but Hunt revived it on Facebook and Twitter when she stood for the Senate in 2013.
“I always have to go with that idea of whether I am raising her stakes. Who are her supporters this time round, and am I helping her cause by satirising her?” Hunt said.
“Last time when I had my 15 minutes of fame, it was Aboriginal people and Asian people who came up to me and said ‘thank you for giving me a conduit to help me through the pain I felt’.
“So I don’t know yet. I’ll be thinking about it … I’m not a drag queen who dresses up to laugh at women.”
Major parties ‘harnessing xenophobia’: Hunt
Hunt said he was not surprised to see Ms Hanson’s One Nation party poll so strongly.
Since Ms Hanson’s political emergence in the 1990s, he believes the major parties have “learned the power of harnessing xenophobia”. This, he says, has forced Ms Hanson further to the fringes.
“It’s no longer Asians, it’s Muslims now,” Hunt said.
“She’s having to say things that are more extreme like putting surveillance cameras into mosques, and having a royal commission into whether Islam is a religion.
“It’s at that bizarre, Donald Trump edge of reality.”
Hunt also believes the mainstream media is partly responsible for Ms Hanson’s revival, accusing them of not properly interrogating her during the campaign because she had previously worked as a paid political commentator.
“She’s had a lot more media training and it’s a very slick machine now,” he said.
In recent years, Hunt has been involved in a social media campaign against Georgian opera singer Tamar Iveri, who was due to tour Australia but was sacked over homophobic comments.
He also took part in a local campaign against the World Congress of Families, and was planning to turn his attention to the potential plebiscite on same-sex marriage.