Populism has emerged as a significant force in Oceania in recent years, with populist leaders and movements gaining support across the region. Populism in Oceania has been characterized by anti-elitist and anti-establishment rhetoric, as well as appeals to national identity and sovereignty. Populist movements in Oceania have focused on a range of issues, including immigration, trade, and economic inequality.
One of the most significant examples of populism in Oceania is the One Nation party in Australia, which was founded in 1997 by Pauline Hanson. One Nation is a right-wing populist party that has been characterized by its opposition to immigration and multiculturalism, as well as its calls for stronger border controls and the preservation of Australian culture and values. The party gained significant support in the late 1990s and early 2000s, winning 11 seats in the Australian parliament in the 1998 federal election. While One Nation’s support declined in subsequent elections, the party has remained a significant force in Australian politics.
In New Zealand, the New Zealand First party has emerged as a significant populist force. The party was founded in 1993 by Winston Peters and has been characterized by its opposition to globalization and free trade, as well as its calls for tighter immigration controls and greater investment in infrastructure and social programs. New Zealand First has gained support in recent years, winning 7.2% of the vote in the 2017 New Zealand general election and becoming a key coalition partner in the government.
In Papua New Guinea, the People’s National Congress party (PNC) has been described as a populist party. The PNC was founded by current Prime Minister Peter O’Neill and has been characterized by its focus on economic development and infrastructure, as well as its calls for greater sovereignty and independence from foreign influence. The PNC has been in power since 2011 and has been criticized for its authoritarian tendencies and for its handling of corruption allegations.
In Fiji, the FijiFirst party has been described as a populist party. The party was founded by current Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama and has been characterized by its focus on economic development and national unity, as well as its opposition to traditional political elites. The FijiFirst party won a significant victory in the 2018 Fijian general election, winning 50.02% of the vote and securing a majority in the parliament.
Populism in Oceania has had a significant impact on regional politics, challenging established political parties and institutions. Populist leaders and movements have been criticized for their divisive rhetoric and for promoting policies that threaten regional stability and cooperation. However, supporters of populism argue that it is a necessary force for challenging the status quo and giving voice to ordinary people.
Overall, populism has emerged as a significant force in Oceania in recent years, with populist leaders and movements gaining support across the region. While the long-term impact of populism on regional politics remains uncertain, it is clear that it will continue to be a significant force in the years to come. As issues such as immigration, trade, and economic inequality continue to shape political discourse in Oceania, populist movements and leaders are likely to remain a prominent feature of the political landscape.