In recent years, nativist and populist insurgencies have threatened political establishments and public-policy discourse.
Remarkable though he may seem on the American political scene, Donald Trump is no aberration: he reflects trends across Europe; where a surge in support for nationalist movements underscores the growing resentment of a governing class many voters feel has been oblivious to their concerns over lax border controls.
Fear and anger is most apparent in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the Netherlands; where anti-immigrant parties are on the ascendancy. In Poland and Hungary, they have even won power. Many Brexiteers associate immigration with disorder and social decay.
In 2015, Angela Merkel allowed more than one million refugees from the Middle East into Germany without vetting. The result: the far-right Alternative for Germany, or AfD, went from no presence in the legislature to being the largest opposition force.
The contrast with Australia is striking. Whereas high anxiety over immigration helps carry nationalist themes from the fringes to the centre across Europe, support for closed-door movements is confined to the margins of our body politic. Hansonism, as the Western Australian and Queensland elections showed, is a spent force. Compulsory voting plays a role, but so does our successful large-scale, non-discriminatory immigration policy that commands broad bipartisan and public backing.