OPINION: Pauline Hanson’s popularity to be tested at polls

WHETHER or not Pauline Hanson is a spent political force will be tested in Richmond at the next Federal election.

Hanson will field a candidate, Neil Smith, in the seat which is held by Labor's Justine Elliot.

Mr Smith, who is a production manager and engineer, will become the party's sixth candidate.

He said he wholeheartedly endorsed Hanson's views and had "researched the party's policies online".

"I agreed with each of them. It was time I put my own life experience and success into supporting positive change on a federal level," he said.

I don't think Elliot will exactly be trembling in her boots at the prospect of facing off against Smith.

One Nation may gain some votes in the Tweed and northern rural areas where it is more conservative.

But Richmond takes in population centres such as Byron Bay, Nimbin, Bangalow and Lennox Head, and I can't see Mr Smith gaining much traction there.

Of most interest will be the percentage of his primary vote, but it is bound to be a small sideshow in the scheme of things.

The Nationals will be desperate to win back this seat, however Mr Smith's nomination is likely to muddy the waters a little.

One Nation is not without its supporters, but judging by recent form I'd suggest its claim to be any kind of potent political force has long since come and gone.

Good luck to Mr Smith, it's certainly added some texture to the contest.

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