ANALYSIS: Hanson’s claim to be the new big thing shredded
PAULINE Hanson's claim to be the big new thing in politics was shredded at the weekend along with the West Australian Liberal government.
Senator Hanson had identified the WA election as the contest which would demonstrate her One Nation was a legitimate third party which had to be respected.
Voters strongly disagreed.
Rather than forcing it's way into the power club, One Nation lost support as the campaign went on, and that decline accelerated during the final week when Senator Hanson arrived, apparently believing she could clinch the party' triumph.
The One Nation vote dove from around 13 per cent in an opinion poll to just under five per cent in the election itself.
One Nation might get two or three seats in the state Upper House, but fewer than the Greens and the Nationals, and a long way from the balance of power position originally promised.
On cue, Pauline Hanson has blamed others - she barred ABC reporters from a press conference in a Trump-esque dummy-spit - but can't dismiss her own contribution.
Comments by Senator Hanson - particularly rubbish she spouted on childhood vaccinations, which alarmed the public in Australia's youngest state - landed with a thud, and sent a message of incompetence and policy shallowness.
She also has, correctly, attacked the preference swap deal with the Liberals, which turned out to be a disaster for both parties.
Senator Hanson's crew had asked One Nation voters in WA to send their second choices to a government which was despised by many of those supporters.
It wasn't jut a deal with an elitist mainstream parties - it was a deal with a particularly unloved elitist mainstream party.
The preference experiment was the first in 16 years in which Liberals didn't put One Nation last, and the consequences will influence strategies at the Queensland election later this year, and the federal election scheduled for 2019.
Further, the big claims being made about One Nation will be re-examined, because the Hanson campaign in the West was at best less successful than planned, at worst a humiliating flop.
Watching a government expire after close to a decade in office is almost refreshing in an era of disposable premiers and PMs, and there is no doubt the Colin Barnett government was tired and suffering policy malnutrition.
Over his eight years as premier, Mr Barnett struggled through the global financial crisis, the rush of the mining boom and the disruption it caused, followed by the bust.
There were substantial state issues in play in Saturday's election and clear policy demarcation points between the Liberals and the triumphant Labor Party.
A big one was Labor' rejection of partial privatisation of the state's electricity network.
Another was state debt, already costing $1 billion a year to service.
Federal Labor will argue there were national issues which also influenced voters, in particular, penalty rates, and the leadership of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
The claim is questionable, but that won't top Opposition Leader Bill Shorten using the WA result as a platform from which he an address the broad federal constituency on the east coast.
But WA voters were responding to local matters which had been well argued by Premier-elect Mark McGowan in a well-run Labor campaign.
Nobody could say One Nation's campaign was well run, and the disastrous result simply underlines the fact the party is being run by amateurs who often don't like each other, have policy ideas which are plain loopy, and who know little or nothing about elections.
The party needs the attention of political professionals, and stable candidates whose personal beliefs are more Earth-bound than some of those currently standing under the One Nation banner.
And it will have to make tough evaluations of the role of Pauline Hanson herself.