This video by Junkee about Pauline Hanson is very much worth watching.
It talks about the global “they took our jobs” trend in messages around the world that if dismissed as simply racism and bigotry could actually lead to more racists and bigots getting into dangerously powerful positions.
Many people feel left behind by economic globalism. Whether they truely are or not is secondary (many are, many actually aren’t). People look for others to blame for their lot in life and will listen to whoever they feel is hearing them.
I don’t agree with almost anything that Pauline Hanson, Donald J. Trump or Nigel Farage say but you need to empathise and have compassion for their supporters if you’re to stop them from tearing down the world and burning it to shreds.
This is about feelings not about reality. Understanding how people feel (regardless of whether you think it’s rational or justified) is the only way of having a productive conversation.
Otherwise we’re headed in the same direction as depression era radicalisation circa pre-WWII. We’re all humans with our own wants, desires, feelings and opinions we need to learn to empathise with each other. If you dismiss people who feel disenfranchised it’s hardly going to help to convince them of your point of view.
For more on this I recommend this my list of interesting perspectives following the Brexit referendum, ‘Scared, F**ked off, and “Not racist but”: Lessons from talking to residents of Notamajorcity‘ by Dan Ilic and watch #Twitchike on ABC iview.