Showing posts with label One Nation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label One Nation. Show all posts

Monday, 25 June 2018

Pauline Hanson gets caught disregarding the rules once more

Senator Pauline Hanson Image: The Australian

One would think a political party with only two senators, including its president for life, in the Australian Senate and not one MP in the House of Representatives would not be so overburdened with paperwork that it would forget its legal obligations.

Pauline Hanson had been around long enough to know the rules, after all she has had to play catchup on more than one occassion, so all I can presume is that she was indulging in a little cost cutting.

Certainly former NSW MLC Peter Breen now One Nation's state secretary is aware of the party's obligations and doesn't sound all that happy at present.

The Age, 18 June 2018:

Pauline Hanson’s One Nation is at risk of breaching electoral laws by using a structure that runs state branches by “remote control” from Queensland, according to an explosive letter that reveals growing pressure inside the troubled party.

The concerns add to accusations of a “dictatorship” being run by Senator Hanson, as billionaire former MP Clive Palmer exploits the One Nation divisions in a new grab for power on the Senate crossbench.

Fairfax Media can reveal One Nation wrote to the NSW Electoral Commission 10 days ago to admit doubts over the registration of the party branch in NSW because it did not have local balance sheets and reports to satisfy state disclosure laws.

“It was clear from our meeting on 22 May 2018 that operating the party by remote control from Queensland may be in breach of the NSW funding and disclosure laws,” wrote Peter Breen, the secretary of the party’s state division.

Mr Breen asked for guidance from the Electoral Commission to “demonstrate the deficiencies” in the party’s records ahead of looming deadline on June 30 to lodge the financial reports…..

Mr Breen told Fairfax Media the party had no NSW bank account and left all its records and receipt books with the Queensland head office, which meant it did not have balance sheets and other records to produce for the NSW authorities.

“I’m the one in the gun because Brian Burston has left me up the creek,” he said.

“Pauline Hanson is the registered officer, so ultimately the onus is on her. Because she sacked Burston as deputy registered officer, it falls back on her to make sure the party complies with the NSW rules.”

Monday, 13 November 2017

Pauline Hanson - bad taste personified

As part of One Nation’s 2017 Queensland state election campaign the tin-eared Pauline Hanson (who consistently supports Turnbull Government punitive social & economic policies in the Senate) has a so-called 'battler bus' on the road…..

Thursday, 26 October 2017

A clear example of political prostitution - with Malcolm Turnbull acting as 'the john' and One Nation playing 'the tom'

 The Courier Mail, 19 October 2017:

BARNABY Joyce has warned Malcolm Turnbull to stop gifting Pauline Hanson cash to make Government announcements.

The warning came during a face-to-face meeting sparked by ropeable Queensland Coalition backbenchers.

The frank discussion, held on Monday at 8am in the Prime Minister’s office during a scheduled meeting, was in part dominated by the decision to give the One Nation leader $15 million for projects Coalition MPs wanted to announce themselves.

Mr Joyce, who has a good relationship with the PM, laid bare his fury after he was bombarded with complaints from the Queensland backbench.

It is also understood Mr Turnbull’s office received complaints but the PM did not know intimate details of the deals with Senator Hanson.

Highly-placed sources said Queensland Opposition Leader Tim Nicholls and the state LNP had been thrown under the bus so the Turnbull Government could curry favour with Senator Hanson to get votes through the Senate.

Outraged state and federal Coalition MPs and Senators — plus the organisational wing of the LNP — said it looked like the Turnbull Government was bankrolling One Nation election announcements, which sparked the warning by Mr Joyce.

Some protagonists have threatened to go rogue in federal Parliament if it continued….

Queensland MPs are threatening to cause the Government trouble — and work as a separate bloc — if the sweetheart deals continue.

“Queenslanders in the House and the Senate will make sure Queensland’s interests are coming first,” one source said.

With the Government’s tenuous hold on both the House and Senate, Queensland Federal MPs hold significant power if pushed to use it.

Another warned “voters punished the Liberal party for dealing with One Nation in WA” and feared the same would happen in Queensland.

They also warn that allowing Senator Hanson “to stand with big cheques with the Australian Government crest” undermines arguments that voters should not vote for One Nation because they are not in power and cannot get anything done.

In the past month, Senator Hanson has announced a $8.9 million convention and evacuation centre in Ipswich and $5 million for a Driver Education and Motorsport Facility.

* Image from

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

"You're an absolute disgrace" Coalition and One Nation senators

Independent Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie on the floor of the Australian Senate, 14 September 2017.

Senate Hansard,  12 September 2017:
Senator LAMBIE (Tasmania) (13:56): The government wants One Nation support for this package so badly that it has agreed to invite a razor gang into the books of the ABC. And it wants Nick Xenophon's support for the package so badly that it has agreed not to embarrass him into being forced to vote in support of One Nation's proposal. But make no mistake, voting for this bill means voting for One Nation's deal. I know that, One Nation knows that and you can bet your last dollar that Nick Xenophon and his team know that, too. As for what the details are, we still don't know. The government won't tell us and they won't tell us. All we know is that it commits the government to review the ABC and ask if it is reducing the profitability of its commercial rivals. Guess what? The job of the ABC isn't to make money for its commercial rivals. Its job is to guarantee all Australians have access to news, programming and information that affects their lives, no matter where they live or how wealthy they are. The deal the government has made isn't designed to improve the ABC; it is designed to defund it. It's a deal to set up a rigged kangaroo court that is determined to find the ABC guilty and lay the groundwork for slashing the budget of the most trusted news source in the country—or, as I like to refer to it, the eighth great wonder of the world. That is the deal that is before us. That is the vote we are taking—to defend the ABC or to defund it. No amount of tax breaks or inquiries into tech giants can change that. As the old saying goes, if you don't know all the details of the deal, don't vote for it. If you knew all the details of the deal, you probably wouldn't vote for it anyway. A vote in favour of this package is a vote in favour of all the strings that come attached to it. The government could have opted to put the full details of the deal in the legislation, but it decided not to because it is embarrassed by what it has agreed to. And if something is so embarrassing that not even this government would be willing to put its name to it, then it says something about all those who are voting to support it. No matter what else is said, no matter who says it, there's only one thing you need to remember: if you are proud of something, you don't hide it. The deal that has been made between One Nation and the Turnbull government doesn't go ahead unless this vote passes. What we're doing by voting for this media reform package is actually voting for a dirty deal, because the government decided to link the two. We are voting for something on paper and another thing altogether in practice. We're choosing whether to defend the ABC or to defund it. I will not endorse this deal. I am willing to vote to help the commercial players by doing away with outdated media ownership regulations but I refuse to vote for a package that hurts journalism in rural and regional Australia. The bill before us is only half the deal. The other half will not be put to the vote. This is the vote—for the visible half and for the invisible other. It is the only opportunity we will have to oppose the dirty deal the government has made to let loose the razor gangs on the budget of the ABC for the crime of doing exactly what the public needs a public broadcaster to do. I won't be supporting this bill and I am disappointed that I can't. I'm disappointed that I can't support this bill, because I support what it's trying to achieve in principle. The media landscape is changing fast and— The PRESIDENT: Thank you, Senator Lambie. You are in continuation. It being 2pm, we move to question without notice.
Senator LAMBIE (Tasmania) (18:27): The media landscape is changing fast. The industry is changing and the industry's regulation needs changing too. It's ridiculous to say that the only way to defend a struggling industry is to defend the regulation that's preventing it from defending itself against new and enormous threats. But concerns around the potential loss of media diversity as a result of the changes posed are real and valid. It is important that any deal to change regulation also protects media diversity in the process. Nobody wants any one media baron to have excessive power over the political landscape, and the best way to address concerns about private media ownership is to invest in publicly owned media. The government, with courage, would put whatever it's proposing to a vote. That's not what it has agreed to. Instead, reports suggest that the government has made some sneaky handshake deal in a back room somewhere to undermine the operations of the ABC, and it has gone behind the back of the Senate to do it. I won't be supporting this bill, and I'm disappointed that I can't. I'm disappointed that I can't support this bill because I support in principle what it's trying to achieve, but I will not be a part of taking a pitchfork to the ABC.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Tweet of the Week

Climate change denialist, anti-science and all round conspiracy theorist, discredited One Nation Senator Malcolm Ieuan Roberts gets disinvited.

Friday, 28 July 2017

One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts' British citizenship renunciation timeline not clear

On Sunday 8 May 2016the Prime Minister announced there would be a federal election on 2 July that year.

Writs were issued on 16 May and the rolls closed 23 May 2016.

At 12 noon on Thursday 9 June 2016 close of nominations for both House of Representatives and Senate candidates occurred.

Early voting commenced on 14 June and Election Day ended at 6pm on 2 July 2016.

According to One Nation Senator Malcolm Ieuan Roberts as reported in The Age on 27 July 2017; he wrote to the British authorities on May 1 last year to ask them whether he was a British citizen, given he was born to a Welsh father in India.
He says he got no response so he wrote a further email on June 6 - three days before nominations closed - saying that if he was a citizen he fully renounced. He subsequently nominated as a candidate and won a Queensland Senate seat.

However, this tweet by Chief Political Correspondent, Sydney Morning Herald & The Age, James Massola, throws Malcolm Roberts assertion that he was not a British citizen at the time of nomination into doubt.

It appears that U.K. authorities and Mr. Roberts may possibly have different views of when he ceased to be a British citizen.

I strongly suspect that the High Court of Australia would be inclined to accept the word of the U.K. Government over that of Malcolm Roberts if this difference is confirmed.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

One Nation back in the news again because of staffing choice

It seems it is not only her Chief of Staff James Ashby who keeps thrusting Pauline Hanson’s One Nation into the news……

The Courier Mail, 25 May 2017:

KEY One Nation staffer Sean Black has been arrested by detectives in the latest scandal to engulf the party this week.

His arrest follows explosive tape recordings released revealing party figures discussing ways to “make money” out of the state election.

Black, 39, a senior adviser to Queensland One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts, was taken through the Roma Street watch-house just before noon yesterday. He had flown into Brisbane from Canberra on Tuesday night.

He is facing a number of historical charges, three counts of common assault and three counts of assault occasioning bodily harm assault, but The Courier-Mail cannot publish more details for legal reasons.

Complaints were made to the Queensland Police Service late last year.

Black was one of the early recruits to One Nation Senate staff when they were swept to power in last year’s election, taking up his position in September.

He appeared before the Brisbane Magistrates Court yesterday afternoon, where it was revealed some of the allegations dated back to 2007….

Mr Black is a media adviser to Queensland Senator Malcolm Roberts……

The case will return to court on June 19.

Mr Black was one of the early recruits to One Nation Senate staff when they were swept to power in the 2016 election, taking up his position in September.

The former real estate agent has a long history in politics, as well as volunteering in former LNP MP Michael Pucci’s 2012 election campaign.

He served as a Logan City Councillor for four years, from 2008, and was previously married to fellow councillor Hajnal Ban.


The Courier Mail, 6 February 2017, p.14:

One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts has given his "full support" to a senior staffer who had domestic violence concerns raised about him.
Senator Roberts' policy adviser Sean Black was swept up in a complaint to the Crime and Corruption Commission after it was alleged confidential information may have been given to him.
The complaint alleged Logan councillor Darren Power was told about protective measures put in place to safeguard Mr Black's former partner after she approached council with domestic violence concerns about him.
Cr Power strongly denies being told about the protective measures, claiming the complaint was payback for opposing a controversial development in his council division.
Despite repeated approaches, Mr Black declined to comment on the allegations. In a Facebook post, Senator Roberts defended Mr Black, saying he was a "personal friend" who was a "great asset to our team". "I have seen no evidence of the caricature he is painted to be," Senator Roberts wrote. "He loves his family, has a great sense of humour and is extremely well liked by all those who associate with him."

The Courier Mail, 5 February 2017, p.3:

The CCC refused to confirm a complaint had been received. But a spokeswoman for Logan Mayor Luke Smith declined to comment because of the "involvement" of the CCC.
Mr Black, despite repeated approaches, made no comment for this story but stopped it running in last week's Sunday Mail by applying for an eleventh-hour injunction that prevented its publication.
Those orders were revoked during a closed court application hearing on Monday in Brisbane's Supreme Court.
Cr Power, according to a document obtained by The Sunday Mail, was called into Mayor Smith's office in December for a conversation about the domestic violence concerns against Mr Black.
"I found this unusual as Cr Smith and I have a difficult relationship and we rarely talk in private," Cr Power writes in the document, dated January 22 this year, which was given to Mr Black.
"Cr Smith then told me that he had heard that Sean Black has a habit of domestic violence, that he 'bashed his former wife' and that 'it was just a matter of time before it catches up with him and that the papers are aware', and that 'is (sic) all about to explode' in the media." The long-time councillor, who has been repeatedly elected since 1997, claimed he believed Cr Smith had heard this information directly from Mr Black's former partner: "Cr Smith led me to believe that the story that was about to break in the paper would 'mean Sean Black would be one of the most politically maligned individuals in Australia'," the document says. It was supplied to the CCC as part of the complaint.

The Border Mail, 11 December 2016:

He was forced out of the ALP for his role in a vote-rigging scandal detailed in the Shepherdson corruption inquiry – although he was never charged – and subsequently gravitated towards conservative politics.
In 2008, he was elected to the Logan City Council, where he was accused of bullying and flying into fits of uncontrollable rage.
At one stage, he was banned from entering council chambers or dealing with staff after a string of complaints of intimidation.
The mayor at the time said he had a "sad history of unacceptable behaviour" and ordered special security arrangements for any meetings he attended. Colleagues said he was disruptive and chaotic.
At the time Mr Black admitted to raising his voice and swearing but said the ban was a result of his political enemies trying to silence him.
With One Nation on track to make big gains at the next Queensland election, sources say Mr Black is in the frame as a potential state leader.
While his four years on Logan City Council were tumultuous, he is one of the precious few One Nation figures with experience in elected office….
On his Facebook page, Mr Black has admitted to struggling to control his temper, including last year when he launched into a foul-mouthed rant and threw a coaster at a man wearing an offensive T-shirt about Tony Abbott.
"So today I snapped," he wrote. "Our greatest prime minister, Tony Abbott, is being taunted, derided and dis­respected. I've had a gut full of pansy conservatives who won't stick up for freedom, Tony, or our nation. Time to grow balls and pick some fights folks."

The Courier Mail, 27 February 2015, p.19:

A T-shirt bagging Prime Minister Tony Abbott has sparked a beer-coaster blue involving a former Logan councillor.
In one of the more bizarre political battles of the year, former Logan councillor Sean Black and his mother aimed an outburst at a fellow diner at a suburban restaurant.
The pair threw coasters at a patron at the Beach House restaurant at Garden City, before launching into a foul-mouthed rant and being asked to leave….
Behind his keyboard, Mr Black launched into a tirade to defend Mr Abbott. "Our greatest prime minister, Tony Abbott, is being taunted, derided and dis respected," he wrote. “I’ve had a gut full of pansy conservatives who won't stick up for freedom, Tony, or our nation. Time to grow balls and pick some fights folks."

The Courier Mail, 31 August 2011, p.12:

The State Government has hired private investigators to find out whether a land deal involving married Logan councillors Hajnal and Sean Black was shady.
RISQ Group has been employed by the Department of Local Government and Planning to investigate a conflict of interest over the multimillion-dollar property sale at Park Ridge, south of Brisbane, after claims the couple should have declared a pecuniary interest.
Cr Sean Black said they had "co-operated fully with the department's inquiries".
"The ALP has attempted to have these private family matters investigated for quite some time," he said. "The department, to my understanding from a conversation this morning, will not be prosecuting on any of the matters referred by (Logan MP John) Mickel."
The investigation related to the Blacks' involvement in the sale of a $2.25 million property belonging to an old, sick friend, of whom Hajnal Black (nee Ban) was the power-of-attorney. The Courier-Mail has been told it is still ongoing….
Local Government Minister Paul Lucas said the process was completely independent and challenged Cr Sean Black to take the matter further if he thought it was politically motivated.
"Sean Black has been in more political parties than I've had hot dinners and has managed to cultivate enemies in all of them," Mr Lucas said.
"If Cr Black has issues with process, he is more than welcome to follow other processes, but he won't - he'd much rather sling mud."

ABC Premium News, 31 March 2009:

A Logan councillor insists he will still be able to do his job despite being banned from face-to-face contact with council staff.
Logan Mayor Pam Parker says Councillor Sean Black will only be allowed in council buildings under strict supervision.
Councillor Black will continue representing Logan's Division Four but will be supervised by security when attending Council meetings.
The decision to restrict his movements came after numerous complaints from council staff of abusive behaviour and harassment.
Councillor Parker says there has also been a workers compensation claim lodged for bullying against Councillor Black.
"He has been apologetic for this, he's been apologetic many times for his behaviour," she said.
She say his behaviour cannot be tolerated.
"It's not every day you get a councillor yelling screaming, swearing and showing displays of uncontrollable anger in the work force," she said.
"We have a duty of care and legal liability to protect our staff from this sort of behaviour."
Councillor Black says he did get frustrated and yell and swear at his colleagues but denies he bullied staff.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Quotes of the Week

“Director of Public Prosecution, Ms Marianne Ny, has today decided to discontinue the investigation regarding suspected rape (lesser degree) by Julian Assange.” [Swedish Prosecution Authority, media release, concerning the seven year investigation of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, 19 May 2017]  

This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history! [U.S. President  Donald  J. Trump tweeting on 18 May 2017 after discovering that the official FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 216 presidential election had been widened]

If you can pay rent, buy food for a week, pay for phone etc and buy drugs on $267.80 a week, you should be made treasurer. [@mrumens, commenting on Turnbull Government plan to drug test unemployment benefit recipients, 11 May 2016]

This is a government of poor data ethics. Hand-waving at risks associated with sloppy data-architecture. Self-congratulatory culture of applause over a mediocre to disastrous experience of digital governance. Vindictive and retributory exploitation and commodification of citizen data. The Australian government isn’t a fit and proper data custodian.  [Internet activist and journalist Asher Wolf writing at on 9 May 2017]

The standout demographic characteristic of One Nation voters was their lack of education. The typical One Nation voter didn’t finish school, much less, as Marr put it, “set foot in a university”. [Mike Seccombe writing in The Saturday Paper, 6-12 May 2017]

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Is Pauline Hanson failing to fully comply with state and federal electoral laws - again?

It almost beggars belief. Is Pauline Hanson failing to fully comply with state and federal electoral laws – again?

The Saturday Paper, 29 April-5 May 2017:
One Nation risks deregistration in Queensland following the failure of Pauline Hanson to advise the Electoral Commission of Queensland about a botched incorporation that has left it with a noncompliant constitution. The party secretly switched legal structures last November without telling members, using a draconian clause in its superseded governance rules that allowed One Nation state executive members to do whatever they chose without question. Former insiders have said a principal purpose for the incorporation was to put in place a corporate veil so the entity rather than members of the executive would be the subject of legal action.
The method of incorporation and the failure to consult is consistent with a trend of centralising all of One Nation’s power in Queensland, which has in the past been illustrated by attempts to close branches across the country through the use of proxies to forcibly remove “troublesome” state leaders, attempts to close bank accounts over which the One Nation national committee had no authority, and the initiation of complaints to police to intimidate a sub-branch in the Northern Territory.
At the same time, the party neglected to observe mandatory rules contained in Commonwealth and Queensland electoral laws, which must be included in its constitution for One Nation to be a political party with legal standing. Breaches of provisions that specify which clauses must appear for a constitution to be compliant under law are grounds for the cancellation of a party’s registration under Section 78 of Queensland’s Electoral Act.
Neither Senator Hanson nor the deputy registered officer – party treasurer and Hanson’s brother-in-law Greg Smith – informed the electoral commission of the changes in legal structure of the entity. There were two reporting deadlines missed by One Nation – notification of the changes should have been delivered seven days after December 31 and March 31. 
News of One Nation’s constitutional high jinks follows revelations over the past six months related to the party’s preselection and disendorsement processes during the West Australian election, questions about its compliance with goods and services tax legislation, and doubts about the donation and declaration of an aeroplane to Pauline Hanson for campaigning purposes.
It also follows a network-wide ban of the ABC, announced in a Facebook video posted by Hanson after the April 3 airing of a Four Corners report that highlighted a range of issues faced by One Nation. The program, criticised by Hanson and her colleagues as a media “stitch-up”, has resulted in a formal investigation by the Australian Electoral Commission, related to the donation of the two-seater plane.
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation is the business name of One Nation Queensland Division Incorporated, which was an unincorporated association since it registered on January 23, 2001. That changed last year when the entity was incorporated with the same ABN. 
The entity is regarded as the same for tax purposes and the name of the unincorporated body has transitioned into the incorporated form……, 5 April 2017:

And that’s where the law comes in. The facts as we know them are that Ashby has a plane, in which he flies Hanson around the country on what is clearly One Nation business. Hanson herself has made numerous public statements, including on the party website, asserting that the plane belongs to One Nation. It is literally plastered with her name and face.

One Nation is a registered political party. The Commonwealth Electoral Act requires each party, and each of its state branches, to lodge an annual return with the Australian Electoral Commission, within 16 weeks after the end of each financial year. The annual return must include disclosure of all amounts received by, or on behalf of, the party from any single source totalling more than $13,000 (for the 2015-2016 year).

Donations are expressly defined as including the value of a gift. There is no room for doubt that, if a generous supporter gave an aeroplane to an official of the party, so that that official could fly the leader of the party around the countryside on party business, then the gift of the plane (or the cash to buy the plane, if that’s what happened) would be required to be disclosed in the party’s next annual return to the AEC.

Queensland has its own political donation disclosure laws, which are tougher than the federal regime. Returns are required to be lodged six-monthly, all gifts over $1000 must be disclosed, and any gift worth more than $100,000 has to be reported within seven business days.

One Nation’s Queensland Electoral Commission return for the relevant period in 2016 discloses nothing about the aircraft purchase or gift, but it does include an expenditure item of $1187.09 paid by the party to “Jabiru Aircraft Service”. There are numerous payments to Ashby’s companies for printing services, totalling some $17,000 in the same period. Who was paying for the running costs of the aircraft is a mystery.

But it’s pretty simple, really. Whoever paid for Hanson’s plane — however they paid for it and who legally or beneficially owns it — it was, in form and substance, a gift to the direct benefit of her eponymous political party, and she has treated it and talked about it as exactly that for the past two years…..

The Australian2 May 2017:

One Nation’s Senator Hanson shifted her story again on Monday night and said a $106,000 plane “came from” party donor Vicland’s Bill McNee to be used by her chief of staff James Ashby, but it was not a donation.

“So the plane came from Bill McNee, but it was not for the party it was to James for his business?” Sky News’ Andrew Bolt asked.
“Correct,” she answered……

Last night Senator Hanson said the Victorian businessman had allowed Mr Ashby to use the plane.

“He didn’t donate the plane to James Ashby. Having met James, they became friends,” Senator Hanson told Sky News.

“Bill’s a developer and he actually has a lot of business that he does in Queensland, and Bill was continually looking around for a plane.

“He found out James was a pilot (and) he thought: “Here’s a great opportunity to actually have a plane and to actually ¬use it as well.’ ”

The Australian, 3 May 2017:

Pauline Hanson’s controversial chief of staff says he has a “crossover” business relationship with the Melbourne property developer and political donor at the centre of a disclosure row over the purchase of the light plane used by the One Nation leader for election campaigning.

But James Ashby, whose iron-fisted control of Senator Hanson’s office has created ructions inside the party, insisted yesterday that he bought the $106,000 Jabiru 23-D aircraft in 2015 for recreational use and for his printing business in Queensland.

Senator Hanson raised further questions about the status of the plane on Monday when she confirmed on Sky News it had “come from” Bill McNee, but was for Mr Ashby’s firm, not her travel for One Nation.

This conflicts with the media-shy businessman’s assertion that he had no knowledge of the aircraft or how Mr Ashby acquired it. Mr McNee’s company, Vicland, is the Hanson party’s biggest donor, though in a rare interview last November he told The Australian he was stopping all political donations because “it’s something I don’t believe in any longer”.

Pressed on whether he had provided funds to Mr Ashby to buy the plane two years ago, Mr McNee said: “My God, if I am going to buy a plane, I would buy one for myself.” He hung up when contacted yesterday.

The Australian Electoral Commission is investigating whether the acquisition of the plane by Mr Ashby and its use to fly Senator Hanson to campaign events in Queensland before her re-election to federal parliament last July subverted financial disclosure laws.


The Guardian, 20 August 2003:

The fiery redhead, renowned for her garish wardrobe, had pleaded not guilty to fraudulently registering One Nation in the state of Queensland. She also denied dishonestly obtaining A$500,000 (£206,000) in electoral funds used for the campaigns of 11 politicians elected to the Queensland state parliament….
Prosecutors had accused Hanson and Ettridge of passing off a list of 500 supporters as genuine, paid-up members of One Nation in order to register the party and apply for electoral funding.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 August 2003:

Former One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and party co-founder David Ettridge have been jailed for three years each after being found guilty of fraud charges by a Brisbane District Court jury.

Judge Patsy Wolfe made no recommendation for parole.
Hanson, 49, and Ettridge, 58, had pleaded not guilty to fraudulently registering One Nation in Queensland on December 4, 1997.

Hanson had also pleaded not guilty to dishonestly obtaining almost $500,000 in electoral reimbursements after the 1998 state election.

But a Brisbane District Court jury found the pair guilty on all counts after more than nine hours of deliberations.

ABC Radio, PM, 6 November 2003:

MARK COLVIN: But first, the freeing of Pauline Hanson and David Ettridge. The One Nation co-founders have won their bid to get out of jail, after successfully overturning their convictions and their three-year sentences for electoral fraud.

Eleven weeks ago, Hanson and Ettridge were both sentenced to three years jail, after a jury found that they'd fraudulently registered the One Nation Party which they'd founded. Hanson was also found guilty of fraudulently obtaining nearly half a million dollars in electoral funding.

But they'll soon be released from jail, and family and friends were elated by the decision when it came down at Queensland's Court of Appeal this evening.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Hanson & Ashby now think they are an elected duo?

It would appear that Pauline Hanson is loathe to fulfill her extremely light parliamentary commitments and James Hunter Ashby eager to acquire a level of political power he was never granted by the Australian electorate......

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

One Nation: political 'sins' like chickens come home to roost

On 3 March 2017 ABC Television ran a Four Corners program titled “Please Explain”.

It opened with presenter Sarah Ferguson stating:

Welcome to Four Corners.

Nine months ago, Pauline Hanson was riding high. Elected to the Senate, along with 3 of her One Nation colleagues, she created out of thin air a powerful new block on the crossbenches of the fractious upper house.

It was an extraordinary comeback for a woman whose first venture into politics more than twenty years ago ended in ignominy, dumped from parliament, and jailed after a conviction for electoral fraud that was later overturned on appeal.

Last month, in the Western Australian State election, Hanson's One Nation Party won three upper house seats but polled far lower than predicted.

Bitter party infighting in Western Australian and Queensland has seen former One Nation powerbrokers and disgruntled candidates come forth to condemn the woman they'd supported and pinned their hopes on.

It was this kind of internal division that helped pull One Nation apart in the late 1990's.

And just like 20 years ago there are claims that a powerful advisor has too much sway over Pauline Hanson - her chief of staff James Ashby.

So are the wheels coming off the One Nation wagon?

Reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna ventures inside One Nation for tonight's report.

Then well into the broadcast this went too air:

CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: Ian Nelson, a 20-year party veteran was the State President, and also the Treasurer. He resurrected Pauline Hanson in 2014 and returned her to politics.
But after her election success, both he and Saraya Beric were left without a job.
The losers of a bitter internal power struggle that's now split One Nation.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: Why are you no longer working for One Nation?
IAN NELSON: Basically, James Ashby, two words, James Ashby. He couldn't have me around, I was warned, I was warned months before it happened, so James Ashby couldn't have me around and he just poisoned Pauline against me.
SARAYA BERIC: I'm very disappointed in the person he turned out to be.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: James Ashby seen here on election night, became Pauline Hanson's right hand man very quickly.
To understand his meteoric rise, you have to go back to late 2014.
When Ian Nelson says James Ashby rang him out of the blue, with an irresistible offer: Cut price professional printing for federal and state election campaigns for the entire party.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: Did you run any checks or . . .
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: On who James Ashby was?
IAN NELSON: No. Everybody could blame me for that, no I didn't, I just thought what a kind offer, I've had you know, I have offers simular but this one was a bit funny.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: A quick online search would have revealed James Ashby is no stranger to controversy.
In 2012, he accused his then boss, speaker of the house Peter Slipper, of sexual harassment.
Ultimately James Ashby didn't pursue the case, but it was one of the ugliest political scandals in recent times.
IAN NELSON: I was there to watch Pauline's back and, when I had time I was going to vet people, before they get too close to Pauline but I absolutely failed miserably on that one.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: You failed to vet James Ashby?
IAN NELSON: Yeah. Had I have known what I know today, there was no way I would've put him in, let him anywhere near her.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: In early 2015, James Ashby was appointed to the party's executive.
SARAYA BERIC: James was looking at different ways to promote Pauline and the party and he came up with the idea of getting an aeroplane, a little plane that she could get around logistically, and you know he said the media will go for it, it was a bit of a gimmick and I actually agreed with him.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: How the party managed to pay for the extravagant purchase has remained shrouded in secrecy.
PAULINE HANSON, 19 JANUARY, 2017: We have never received huge donations from anyone in all the time. Our donations come from the small people.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: One of the party's biggest recent donors is wealthy Victorian property developer, the director of VicLand Corporation, Bill McNee.
Four Corners has obtained emails revealing how he contacted One Nation offering financial support.
One Nation's head office responded in February 2015.
EMAIL, 27th February 2015: Pauline ... would like to meet with you if you are still able to travel to QLD. May I also ask for your phone number to pass on to Pauline?'
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: Bill McNee wrote back:
EMAIL, 27TH February 2015: 'I would be delighted ... I would like to become a major financial supporter of your party...Let me know when suits for me to come up and meet with you all.'
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: Bill McNee followed up again two weeks later, keen to meet:
EMAIL: 16 March 2015: Sorry to be pushy...I'm so eager to offer support to a party that has the courage to stand up for ordinary Australians and give us a voice.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: They met one month later on the 11th of April 2015 at Pauline Hanson's home for a roast dinner. Ian Nelson was there.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: Did James Ashby ask Bill McNee for a plane?
IAN NELSON: He just kept saying I'm a pilot, you know w- we should be flying Pauline around and and then Bill said, 'Well, we'll have to get you a plane then'. That's how that conversation went.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: Two days later James Ashby wrote this text message to a party official:
TEXT MESSAGE, 13 April 2015: We need to talk to Bill about funding it.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: The official responded:
TEXT MESSAGE: 5 May 2015: 'We had a good chat with Bill. I think Pauline's going to go for the plane'
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: Eight days later, donor Bill McNee sent this email to Pauline Hanson and James Ashby:
EMAIL, 13 May 2015: 'James we will sort out the plane tomorrow as well.'
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: And after that message was sent between James Ashby and Bill McNee did a plane arrive?
IAN NELSON: Yes, very shortly afterwards, brand new Jabiru.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: How was that funded- the purchase of that aeroplane?
IAN NELSON: Well, after Bill McNee said, 'Yes we'll have to get you a plane', to my understanding that means, well all right, I'll buy you a plane. But as it turns out, Bill McNee didn't buy the plane, but as I understand it, he transferred the funds to James Ashby, not the Party, not Pauline, but to James Ashby.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: Bill McNee has denied funding the purchase of the plane.
He's told Four Corners: "There has been no financial support or assistance to any political party outside what is publicly disclosed and already well known."
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: Ian Nelson, the party's state treasurer, says he asked Pauline Hanson to explain how the purchase of the plane had been funded.
IAN NELSON: I said where's the plane, there's no evidence of it anywhere, whose plane is it and she said it's my plane, I said fine, okay, well then, you've got to declare it and she said, 'No, don't worry about it, don't worry about it'. I said 'Well, did Bill McNee buy that plane for the party, did he buy it for you, or did he buy it for James Ashby, and she just looked at me and walked away.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: Four Corners has obtained a copy of these 2015 insurance documents for the Jabiru plane.
They confirm the plane was insured in James Ashby's name. It's listed purpose? Business.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: What is the primary purpose or use of that plane?
IAN NELSON: The One Nation Party. To ferry Pauline around, to the little towns and properties.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: Was that gift declared?
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: Under the rules, should that have been disclosed?
IAN NELSON: If I did it, yes I would've. If I'd had anything to do with the transaction. I said, 'Yes disclose it for heaven's sakes, because it's been used to ferry Pauline Hanson around the state, so it's really a party matter, so it should've been disclosed.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: The acquisition of the plane wasn't the only thing to worry party Treasurer Ian Nelson.
In 2015 Bill McNee's company, VicLand Business, made donations totalling almost $70,000 to One Nation.
When it came time to declare them, Ian Nelson says James Ashby rang him, questioning the way he'd declared the donations to the Queensland Electoral Commission.
IAN NELSON: You know, he said this is confidential, all these matters are confidential and ah they they're for our business only and I said no, that's not quite right, the rules and regulations state that we have to declare any amount of money over a thousand dollars, we have to declare it, and he said well can't you just put 'anonymous donor'? And I said, no, you can't do that, I'll end up in jail.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: To be clear, James Ashby asked you to list a donor as anonymous instead of declaring the name?
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: Rather than disclosing who it is, in contravention . . .
IAN NELSON: In contravention of all the rules and regulations, yes. Later on, Pauline had a bit of a go at me about the same thing.
I said, 'You've got to declare everything', and she just kept calling me an obstructionist, you know, 'Why are you doing it like this?' They just don't understand, and now they're running a party, so God help them all.
And the chickens began flying back to the roost.

On Tuesday, Labor Senator Murray Watt wrote to Australian Electoral Commission head Tom Rogers to investigate whether the matters raised on the program should be referred to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

"The program contained serious allegations that PHON, Pauline Hanson and her Chief of Staff, James Ashby, may have breached financial disclosure obligations under the Commonwealth Electoral Act," Senator Watt said in his letter.

"In the broadcast, former party treasurer Ian Nelson alleges that PHON failed to declare a significant donation from property developer Bill McNee, which the party used to fund the purchase of a Jabiru light aircraft. According to the manufacturer's website, the cost of a new Jabiru light aircraft can exceed $100,000."

Senator Watt said the allegations were "very serious".

"As you are aware, a breach of financial disclosure obligations under the Act may be a criminal offence," he said.

"Furthermore, any attempt to subvert these critical measures, which seek to ensure transparency and accountability in campaign financing, threatens to undermine public confidence in our system of democracy.

"I ask you to investigate these serious allegations, and refer them to the Director of Public Prosecutions, if appropriate."

A spokeswoman for Special Minister of State Scott Ryan said he had spoken to the AEC about the program but had not yet requested an investigation.

Senator Ryan will hold a follow-up conversation with AEC officials over coming days, she said. 

Activist group GetUp! has also sent a separate request to the AEC to investigate the matter.


Following a request on Tuesday from Labor senator Murray Watt, an AEC spokesman said: "The AEC is aware of allegations made on Monday evening's Four Corners  program and through other media outlets.

"This information is now being reviewed in the context of the disclosure provisions of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918."

The spokesman said the AEC undertakes regular compliance reviews and would consider "information placed in the public domain" as part of its inquiries.

* Cartoon by Pat Oliphant