Apr 14, 2024 Last Updated 4:19 AM, Apr 12, 2024

Pauline Hanson -- you are what you eat

Published: Sep 30, 2007

Perhaps it is appropriate that controversial Member of the Australian Parliament, Pauline Hanson, should be the proprietor of a fish and chip shop. Like the declining popularity of the once omnipresent snack food, Hanson's views are out of step with a changing Australia, and a changing world.

Like the nutritional value of fish and chips, Hanson's beliefs about Australian society are unwholesome. They are in fact in complete contrast to the richness of multiculturalism - to a Mexican bean frijoles and spicy chicken sate in Wollongong; Thai green curry, Indian beef vindaloo, Greek fetta and jumbo kalamata olive salad in Wagga Wagga; Japanese sushi, Lebanese falafel and homous in Cootamundra; Malaysian laksa, a Sicilian caponata antipasto, Indonesian gado gado, lamb birani, shami kebab, and spicy Italian puttanesca topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese in Toowoomba; and tuna steaks with a teriyaki sauce, a vegetarian couscous, Bengali rashmalai and a strong brewed Turkish coffee in Mullwillimbah, just to put the metaphor into a culinary perspective.

Good sense

Australia's exotic cuisine is the positive result of 200 years of immigration, which peaked during the late 1940s and 1950s. After World War Two Anglo-Australians made a deliberate choice to change the menu. Most people were sick and tired of greasy hot chips and limp, lifeless, excessively grilled lamb chops with two over-boiled vegetables on the side, smothered to death with a plain white sauce.

Instead Australians decided to vote in a succession of both Liberal conservative and progressive Labor Party governments who had the vision and good sense to plan ahead for greater variety in our otherwise rather bland diets.

Garlic prawn

Unfortunately Pauline Hanson's views have got nothing to do with food - and that's her problem. She in fact wouldn't know a garlic prawn, glazed with honey and ginger, if it jumped up and bit her. Her views are more symptomatic of fear, the fear that she might not like the next course, even before she has a chance to try it.

The good news, however, is that Australians have historically enjoyed the privilege of being able to complain about the lousy food. Our robust democracy has meant that we eat in peace. In this way it is the very 'flavour' of Australian society which guarantees that upon hearing the xenophobic stridency of Pauline Hanson, Australians will begin to debate the rights and wrongs of her message.

Would you like to be part of this debate? Rob Goodfellow invites you to send him 1000-2000 words of text, or cartoons, for a book to be called 'Pauline Hanson - you are what you eat: positive contributions to a debate we didn't need'. Fax him in Wollongong, Australia at 042-26 5290.


Inside Indonesia 51: Jul-Sep 1997

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