Pauline Hanson is the darling of the so-called men's rights movement but SHERELE MOODY says the One Nation leader may regret throwing women under the misogyny bus.
WHAT'S with Pauline Hanson hating on female domestic violence survivors and single mums?
The One Nation leader is a strange mix of contradictions given her experiences with family abuse and raising kids by herself.
Like one in four Australian women, the 63-year-old Federal Senator survived abuse at the hands of a male intimate partner.
This is what she told Sky News before her re-election to Federal Parliament in 2016: "I had nowhere to go. I walked out of that house and he followed me and said 'Come back' and I said 'I can't' and then he threatened, he said 'If you don't come back into the house I will drive my car into the river and I'll kill myself' and I said 'You can't do that, the kids are at home by themselves' and I then had to go back into that house."
The disconnect between Hanson's experience and her views
AS with all survivors, Hanson's experience of violence is confronting and it has no doubt scarred her for life.
It's also a reality that you'd think would give her an empathetic view of violence against women.
But it doesn't.
Instead of standing up for female survivors, Hanson repeatedly claims most women seeking domestic violence orders are doing so for "frivolous" reasons.
She also insists that domestic violence is gender-blind despite reams of credible research showing men are the primary perpetrators and women are the primary victims.
"You know some (women) are going out there and claiming domestic violence because they're told 'I don't like the colour of your dress'," Hanson told me during an interview in June 2016.
"They (women) are making frivolous complaints."
Hanson is not preaching anything new here - she is just regurgitating an antique philosophy shared by cashed-up and powerful angry men's "rights" movements across the globe.
"I want to sit down with these (male-focused) organisations, these groups and give them a voice, because they feel like they're not being heard," she told me shortly before gaining a seat in Federal Parliament during the 2016 election.
Just a few months after I interviewed her, Hanson reiterated this stance - and even shifted the blame for male violence from violent men - while delivering her maiden speech.
"Children are used as pawns in custody battles where women make frivolous claims and believe they have the sole right to the children," she said.
"Children have two parents and, until we treat mums and dads with the same courtesy and rights, we will continue to see murders due to sheer frustration and depression and mental illness caused by this unworkable system."
Man up! How Hanson betrays struggling mums
THE twice-divorced mother-of-four was forced to raise, house, clothe, feed and educate her kids with little to no support from their fathers.
"I've had two marriages - the first husband paid me absolutely nothing, no responsibility whatsoever," Hanson told A Current Affair recently.
"The second husband, he paid it very minimal, until he could actually say 'I can't afford this' and I just walked away from it."
This shows she knows how hard life can be for a single parent trying to make ends meet without support from their former partner.
Yet when it comes to child support, Hanson places all her sympathy on the disfranchised dads she says are being sucked dry by heartless females seeking to fund their "new lives" with their "new partners".
"Non-custodial parents find it hard to restart their lives, with excessive child support payments that see their former partners live a very comfortable life," she told the Australian Financial Review in 2016.
She even reckons women are having babies to get rich off the government.
"They get themselves pregnant and (the government will) have the same problems they did with the baby bonus, with people just doing it for the money,'' the One Nation leader told The Australian in February.
Building policy to appease angry voters
WHETHER it's child support, domestic violence or family law, Hanson understands well that nothing gets the blood boiling like the subject of fathers being screwed over.
She expertly stokes the flames of rage by backing misleading claims from a select group of angry blokes including their favourite mantra "mothers have more rights in the family courts than fathers".
The louder they crow, the easier it is to forget that the Family Law Act says "children have rights, parents have responsibilities" and that shared equal care is ultimately in the child's interests but this is not always feasible or the best outcome.
In a country ruled by One Nation:
- The Family Court judiciary would be replaced by panels of everyday Aussies who would determine where kids live;
- Parents would get automatic shared equal care regardless of the parents' circumstances;
- Abusers would have parental access to kids even when a court rules there is a risk of violence; and
- Those who re-partner would not get child support in what is clearly a patriarchal concept designed to tie women to their former partners until their kids grow up.
What's really driving Pauline Hanson
HANSON publicly presents herself as a regular woman who's done the hard yards - her experiences as a domestic violence survivor and a struggling single mum lending her a certain legitimacy when talking about these issues.
Yet she constantly de-legitimises women who have walked in her shoes. Instead of acknowledging their sacrifices and their bravery, she paints them as never-do-wells using the courts to keep dads from their kids while lining their own pockets.
So why is her experience valid but that of others invalid?
Perhaps it's an acute case of internalised sexism - the kind of misogyny where people question a woman's motive and truthfulness when she says she has been raped, bashed, abused, betrayed or harassed by a man while supporting the perpetrator because: "He doesn't lie", "Not all men", "He's a nice guy", "She must have been asking for it" or "It's totally out of character".
Truth will shatter house of cards
THERE'S no doubt, Hanson is the queen of the Australian men's rights movement.
She's earned that crown by giving her backers exactly what they want while conveniently forgetting there are other voters in this country - including legions of disfranchised mums.
Hanson knows her rather shaky political house of cards will tumble to the ground if she acknowledges the truth behind women's experiences of violence, child support and the family law system.
The applause from her followers may be deafening right now, but I suspect the One Nation leader will rue the day she decided to throw 50% of Australia's population under the misogyny bus.
*For 24-hour domestic violence support call the national hotline 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.
News Corp journalist Sherele Moody is the recipient of 2017 Clarion and Walkley Our Watch journalism excellence awards for her coverage of domestic violence issues.
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