I've been alarmed for some time over the rampant nostalgia for all things '90s: Doc Martens and floral prints are back, the bare midriff has returned, and some idiot decided to reboot the chronically unfunny sitcom Full House.

But honestly, couldn't we have drawn the line at Pauline Hanson?

Last Saturday night I went to bed in 2016 and woke up to 1997, an unexpected time travel incident that delivered One Nation into the senate, but failed to make me 16 and thin again. Worst flashback ever.

Of course this development comes courtesy of Queensland which, it could be argued, has never really left 1997. They still have Sizzler there, for god's sake.

Hanson's support has always come from a groundswell of fear and racism. The last time she was this popular, it was down to a fear of "Asians". Actually, of "being swamped by Asians”, as she declared in her maiden speech as an independent MP in 1996.

Two decades later and racists seem to have largely gotten over this idea, what with Chinese, Indian, Philippino, Vietnamese and Malaysian born immigrants making up less than seven per cent of the population; which you'd have to admit is rather less "swamping" than "forming a shallow puddle".

With no racist cause to support, One Nation all but disappeared, and Hanson tried to reinvent herself as a loveable reality TV personality, appearing on Celebrity Apprentice and Dancing with the Stars, and seemingly hoping we'd all forgotten the time she said indigenous Australians had it better than the rest of the country.

But in recent years the xenophobes have moved on to another easily identifiable group of people to persecute: muslims. And just like a scene from a 1950s pulp fiction horror, their chanting and braying has resurrected Hanson from the dead to lead them into a new dawn of stupidity.

"Australia is now seeing big changes in the suburbs which are predominantly muslim," One Nation's policy platform states. We're being "swamped" all over again, you see.

Back in 1996, Hanson told parliament: "I do not believe that the colour of one’s skin determines whether you are disadvantaged", which was another way of saying "Aboriginal people should just try harder".

Now, given that for many One Nation supporters "muslims" also means "brown people", Hanson's own party manifesto will ensure skin colour is exactly the measure by which advantage is allocated.

If Hanson gets her way in the senate Muslim immigrants, including refugees, will be banned from entering the country. Muslim women will no longer be allowed to wear the burqa or niqab in public. Mosques will have surveillance cameras installed, although who will actually monitor them is unclear. Halal certification will be banned. (Kosher certification is still apparently fine, for the record.)

She's also opposing the introduction of Sharia law which has never actually been proposed by anyone in Australia, ever. This is rather like opposing the introduction of the pants-free work week, or rainstorms made of soup. It's not ever going to happen.

Hanson is also calling for a royal commission into what Islam actually is, which is quite funny because, given all her other policies that are so vehemently against it, you'd like to think she has some idea already.

Hanson and her supporters are hell bent on subjugating muslim people, because they don't understand them.

It reminds me of another time in history when a group of people were persecuted for their religious beliefs; what was that again? It started around 1939... Oh well, I'm sure I'll think of it.


First published in The Advertiser on July 9, 2016. CLICK HERE to view the original article.