Chapter 11...the fifth column
My brief renewed association with David Ettridge came to an abrupt end. This
came about when shortly after the last committee meeting I rang him to find out
why the delay in responding to our proposed PHSM tour.
"Pauline and I have decided that it is not in our interest for you to go ahead with it." I was not expecting this, but his comment, given that I was prepared to believe, albeit with some reserve that we had tentatively embarked on period of reconciliation, completely took me by surprise. Immediately I saw that Ettridge was never interested in what we were doing but was simply playing for time. I was now angry with myself that I had allowed Trewartha to ever induce me to go down this track. In no uncertain terms I told David Ettridge that I was going to sever all ties with him and his plan to launch a new party.
The following day Pauline Hanson put her signature to the Incorporation's Act
that finally protected its members. This was an act of sheer bastardry and
devious manoeuvring that she approved. In effect what took place was totally
illegal and the man who allowed this to happen was my once trusted lieutenant
Paul Trewartha. Our membership was at that specific time as I have said was 539.
As an unincorporated body we had operated on the rules detailed by the
Association of Incorporated bodies. Any change in the structure of the movement
required an extraordinary meeting to discuss and vote on those changes. In order
for this meeting to be legal we required a quorum of 34 people. If this did not
happen then it was adjourned until that quorum was forthcoming.
In this case the procedure was for Incorporation and in order for this to happen, the unincorporated PHSM, must assemble and vote on the proposal of Incorporation. To do this it was a requirement of the Associations Act to notify all our members. Upon the vote being supported it was in the rules of association that ALL members must then resign their membership of the old movement the PHSM and reapply for membership of the new PHSM Inc. Whilst this was merely a formal procedure it legitimised the formation of the new entity. It simply did not happen. This is what did.
Seven members of the sixteen man committee gathered at John Clodd's premises and submitted the Constitution for the proposed PHSM Inc to the Corporate Affairs Dept. This was not made known to either the membership or the other members of the committee. Out of the blue the now 'Hanson endorsed' application for Incorporation, was processed and returned to the movement through Paul Trewartha's personal mail-box! At no time did the Corporate Affairs require proof of the procedure of the group to establish the authenticity of the application. I retain the letter in which they washed their hands of this responsibility. The new PHSM Inc was granted on March 10th 1997. This same lack of scrutiny by the Corporate Affairs, which gave official legitimacy to the PHSM Incorporated, was also characteristic of the slap dash application of the rules that gave legitimacy to the One Nation political party that was registered in Queensland; this time it was the ineptness of the Queensland Electoral Commission.
A special steering committee meeting was called for Friday March 21st 1997. Eight people attended, including my wife who was secretary. When she arrived home, she told me that something had taken place at the meeting that she did not understand. It had something to do with the executive positions but she said that Ron Paddison the new secretary would forward the minutes to her later. New secretary, to what? I had yet to find out. On the night in question there were some notable absentees, which indicated that any opposition to what took place would be eliminated. In fact what ultimately came to the fore was that only those who would fully support what was proposed were invited ...and this a PHSM meeting! There were eight members of the committee along with two people who were later to become One Nation Executives, as observers. Of those who were not informed, people who would have opposed what happened, only I knew of the meeting. To me this was yet another of those committee routine meetings where there was no action and plenty of useless talk. What I did not know nor could I have known was that Trewartha was acting on instructions from Ettridge.
This meeting was called entirely unconscionably to elect NEW officers to the
newly created PHSM Inc. Apart from the fact that there were no members of this
new entity created at the direction of Ettridge, what took place next paved the
way for the illegal registration of what was to become One Nation ...and you may
well ask, One Nation ... what? Party, support movement, public company or $2
shelf company? Paul Trewartha chaired the meeting and my wife Iris read the
minutes of the previous meeting. Immediately Trewartha advised that matters
arising be deferred. This caught everybody by surprise including the Secretary.
The minutes of that meeting were not written by my wife but at the insistence of
Mr Ron Paddison, (who was not only Trewartha's secretary in the AIR, but also
nominated chair of the Constitution committee), by himself. Two days later when
the copy was faxed through to her the reason for her concern about 'something
that she did not understand ' became patently clear to me. Here is a copy of
Secretary Iris Whiteside read the minutes. Matters arising were deferred and
President (Chairman) Paul advised that all executive officers of the steering
committee were resigning in block and that new office bearers would nominate so
that Pauline Hanson and David Ettridge nominations could be received and
considered at this meeting. Nominations were called for and received as under.
President: Pauline Hanson
Vice Presidents: David Ettridge, Paul Trewartha
Secretary Ron Paddison
Treasurer Lindon Litchfield
As no other nominations were received the above office bearers were declared elected.
It went on:
The meeting reconvened with the same attendees. The Chairman then proposed that as the committee had been operating as a steering committee on the premise that we were controlling the association on a national level and that now that committee would be made up of others not resident on the Gold Coast it was necessary to specifically elect a Gold Coast Committee in so doing forming a Gold Coast Branch.
This was moved by Trewartha and seconded by Paddison. Immediately Paddison left the meeting.
The original PHSM Minutes Book. This has never left the Whiteside home. Had Paul Trewatha been as he wrongfully claimed in front of Justice Roslyn Atkinson at the Supreme Court trial in 2003, the Founder, he would have has these in his possession. The documentation that was presented to the Courts was NOT authentic. As a result the truth ‘masked by manipulative men’ to protect their own tracks saw Pauline Hanson gaoled. Both Prosecution and Defence were presented with identical copied files, but the man whose vital evidence was critical was completely ignored.
As I write this a picture is emerging of the treachery and collusion that went on. I have in front of me the original minute’s book and what I see are the answers to many of the unanswered questions that I sought from those I trusted and who were less than forthcoming. I had started this movement for the most altruistic of reasons. I had a clear vision of what was wanted and pursued it with absolutely no accommodation of anything that would possibly hurt Pauline Hanson, yet all along my resolve and opposition to Ettridge was interpreted as being counter to Hanson's well-being. Many people have since realised that they made a dreadful mistake in following the Hanson entourage and commiserated, but they were years too late. What had I said at the inaugural meeting; 'We seize the moment now or we lose it'. Perhaps Hanson was told by Ettridge, we’ll seize the movement or lose it.
In this sworn statement Trewartha claims that I (he) convened the meeting. This completely untrue and factually very misleading. It was on this man’s evidence that the case largely depended.
Now that Ettridge and Hanson had been handed control, the order went out that the Gold Coast Branch was to organise the launch of One Nation. Ettridge rang my wife and left her to largely organise the sending out of hundreds of invitations. At that time my patience was running to open hostility to all of them. The ‘story’ of my mental health became a talking point among those who gathered in our lounge to help write and mail the twelve hundred invitations. It didn't help when I would walk into the room and all would go totally silent. I began to see these people as subservient sheep with not a brain in their head. I may have been mad for creating the movement to support Hanson in the first place, but these people were incapable of doing anything more than following. They were guilty not of following Hanson but the glib and charismatic sham that was David Ettridge. What should not be lost here is that none of us were aware of Trewartha’s duplicitous role at the time, so he was neither suspected nor seen as anything other than one of the senior members. As a result my lack of respect for some of them became an embarrassment for my wife.
It could not have been easy for her. She has a strong sense of moral obligation.
Ettridge and Trewartha appealed to her to remain until One Nation was launched.
They needed her for her organisational skills and she would not desert her post.
From my stand-point this was unacceptable. It was my belief that irrespective
of her obligation that her loyalty was to me. There was one hell of a scene when
this erupted one day and I ordered the lot of them out of the house. I ended up
leaving the house and in the process I had unwittingly taken the key to the den,
the operational centre of the PHSM, which housed the phone fax and files.
Realising this I returned in time to witness Joy Jacka about to put a rock
through the window in order to open the window and enter the den. It was a
tragedy that came about through the unwarranted intervention of Hanson, Ettridge
and of course Oldfield the supreme architect and devotee of everything that bore
the stamp of a national socialist. I have no doubt that the committee thought
that their hearts were in the right place at the time but what these bastards
Ettridge and Oldfield did turned friend against friend.
'If you can't speak nicely to these people, my wife would say, then don't speak at all.' Yes I was the cynical old bastard who could see what others could not and for that I was to pay a price. A diplomat I was never. The only person who stood by me was John Clodd. He tended to go with the flow but one day I went down to see him to 'escape from the state of Coventry' (my own home, but temporarily the nerve centre of One Nation launch operations) that had been imposed.
Early in March, it was now the 25th, Dr Joseph Wayne-Smith had rung me. He told
me that the book was just about complete and he was finalising the last chapter.
He wanted to know a little about the PHSM and how it developed, asking me if I
would care to write something. What I opted to do was to write a forward to the
book. Joseph then said that he would like to include the speech that I had
delivered at the original PHSM meeting. I told him to use it if it fitted in
with what he had written. As it transpired it was the only contribution in the
book that was purportedly claimed to have been written by PHSM members. In all
honesty I never thought much about the book until he rang me and informed me
that he had forwarded three draft copies for my opinion. One of those was to go
to Jean Evans, who was to help Dr Wayne-Smith with the financial cost of
printing the book, one for myself and the other for Pauline Hanson.
The irony of sending anything to Pauline Hanson to read is never lost on John Pasquarelli, who maintains that Pauline never read anything that he ever gave her. I dare say she can read, but discipline is another matter. In the event she never read the draft sent by Dr Wayne-Smith.
Lying on John Clodd's work bench was a pile of A4 sheets, partly wrapped. They
were the draft copies that Dr Wayne-Smith had forwarded.
"Where did these come from', I asked John.
"Dunno. Paul brought them in, he's just picked them up from the post office.' John was quite nonchalant about it as if nothing was untoward.
'How come? They were posted to me?'
'Don't ask me mate.'
I rang the post office only to find that all the mail from our PHSM mail-box was now being re-directed ...to Paul Trewartha's private box!.
'Why did they end up here John.'
'Paul asked me to hold them here for Jean and Ron Paddison.'
'I have no idea. Why don't you ring him and ask.'
I did. Paddison admitted that he was being sent a copy to read but surprisingly asked me if I could take it instead, because he just simply did not have the time. I knew at the time he had family problems and I did not push for reasons.
John and I discussed the non-de-script title that Dr Wayne-Smith had chosen. The name Pauline Hanson Replies, did not catch John's imagination. He suggested that a catching cover should be created. Laughingly he sketched a rough design which showed a pair of blue jeans, with a part open zipper. That in turned gave me the idea that it could be called the Hanson Exposé
So we slipped the sketch of the proposed cover on top of the draft.
Back in the seat of 'Coventry', I was just beginning to read the draft in my den
when Trewartha stormed in.
"I'm sorry boss, I want that copy to take up to Pauline. I have a meeting in two hours time." The timing and coincidence was not lost on me.
That night I had a ring from Dr Wayne-Smith.
'What have you done to upset Pauline, mate?.'
‘She is ropeable. She has told me that she wants nothing of yours in the book. She went absolutely ballistic about it.'
'Honestly Joseph I don't know why she has her knife into me. The only reason I can suggest is that she is angry that the movement and I are cutting across her media spotlight. It should be noted here that even as late as the launch of One Nation Oldfield was not known to us.
Today the real reasons are coming to the fore, but at the time I was copping plenty from the spite and judgement of Pauline Hanson and the covert operations of our own 'General Petain.'
'By the way she had demanded that the book be called 'The Truth.' I understand that she threw quite a tantrum about this, ' Dr Wayne-Smith went on.
'Well if that is the case, you carry out Pauline's wish. I will not be party to a book that presumptuously claims to be The Truth.' Remove anything of mine from it."
'No I can't do that. You have put too much into this not to be recognised.'
'Joseph, I didn't get to read the draft.'
I went on to tell him what had happened and how I accidentally came upon it and then had it snatched away. I expressed concern that he himself was not prepared to put his name to the publication and he told me that he simply could not. There were reasons that he believed would impact on his employment, not the least being that the Chancellor of the University that he was employed at was an Asian. I remonstrated.
'Look if you can't put your name on the cover, then don’t print it.'
This angry response was triggered by the poem of my late father that was to appear in the book. It was called 'I am Fear.' I was never able to come to terms with people who did not want to be publicly identified with Hanson, particularly early in the peace when support was thin on the ground. Later when the tide of support began to swell it was not so difficult. This is understandable; I call it the sheep-herd mentality; safety in numbers!
When the book came into the hands of Hanson, David Ettridge immediately seized upon it. It was manna from heaven as far as he was concerned. Here was a marvellous opportunity to raise much needed funds. Indeed the gesture from Dr Wayne-Smith was donated, over and above the cost. These people had with the meagre input of donations from the Adelaide PHSM, worked hard to get behind the publication of the first edition. Like so much of what was done for Hanson, it ended up being thrown back in their face. Ettridge threatened legal action if the authors even contemplated printing a second edition. As a result George Merritt, the convenor of the PHSM in South Australia, who belatedly claimed to be its author, was the target of much personal vilification from the charming Mr Ettridge. But then George like me was only a pensioner…fair game for the likes of Ettridge. Meanwhile Ettridge immediately placed orders, he told me this personally, for fifteen thousand additional copies. 'Every book outlet in the country was going to sell it' and it was he said 'a bestseller.' How he was able to claim that when he like Hanson had not read the book beats me. Well that was the plan, up until the first copy was 'auctioned' for two hundred and ninety dollars! Ironically the man who paid that was none other than Scott Balson, the author of Inside One Nation, and Webmaster for One Nation. He too was a man who put in a tremendous amount of work for Hanson and arguably gave her the most professional and informative political website in the country.
In the meantime the team of helpers worked feverishly preparing all the invitations. Trewartha, was busy arranging the hall and the necessary razz-matazz, that was apparently needed to launch this new party. Posters and printed material that Ettridge was now orchestrating were being pushed onto John Clodd, simply because Ettridge, to whom Hanson was prepared to reimburse for expenses that he personally incurred in achieving her directives, had no money to stand these costs. Clodd, as so many Hanson supporters did, was expected to underpin Hanson financially 'in the interests of patriotism.'
Footnote: In 2007 PH wrote a book Untamed and Unashamed. On page 114 she
had the effrontery to say this: "The PHSM without Bruce's involvement agreed to
organise the launch of P H One Nation. Bruce was invited but refused to attend
that night and our relationship was never the same again". That is an out
and out lie.
'You know,' I turned to the lot of them, 'you know all this has come about because none of you have had the guts to stand up along side me on this issue. None of you understand that Hanson is simply mimicking what she is being told. The movement to which you all joined was designed to help Hanson, to morally support her and fight for her. You are all aware of the tremendous effort that Iris, John Clodd and I have put into this, yet you blandly capitulate to con-men and charlatans. You make me sick the lot of you'.
It was volatile stuff and each and every one of them had reason enough to believe that I had lost it. Yet had there been one among them with a skerrick of understanding, they would have realised the great strain that we had been under. The fact that the normally unflappable Iris had all but cracked did not register, but my demeanour was something that they could easily pass of as 'pique.' Oh yes ...they simple saw me as a bad loser; it sat easily with their lack of appreciation of the situation and I, Bruce Whiteside had lost it. Bruce had gone off on another tangent! Not only was he bad-tempered but irrational to boot. It never occurred to any of them at the time that he might just have been right about what was happening.
evening that Hanson had departed for the United States, back on that December
day the 24th, I had been 'gagged.' Hanson, the vocal champion of the freedom of
speech had moved to have me stopped. When I had refused to bow to that wish,
she had moved to appeal to Trewartha and Ron
Paddison through the committee to
guarantee that I did not speak to the media, whilst she was 'overseas.' A vote
was taken and whilst it was far from unanimous, I agreed to abide by their
decision. We or we did while I was in charge, acted in accordance with
democratic and organisational procedure. There was no way known that I would
have remained silent simply because Hanson demanded it. Whilst I was her
greatest supporter I would not bow to her to become a blind disciple. There was
much I admired about the woman but unlike most, I saw her weaknesses. I refused
to massage her ego and in failing to, allowed her lack of rational thought and
appalling sense of character judgment to come into play.
I held true to that undertaking to the committee although I was roundly accused of talking to the press when an article appeared days after Hanson's departure. I don't very much care what they thought. The truth was that the two stories that appeared, were already 'in the system'. From Dec 24th 1996, until this day, March 29 1997, I had remained silent. Many thought that I had walked away from what I had started, but they did not know of the treachery and skulduggery that had permeated the PHSM, ordered by a woman who fell little short of a dictator’s puppet. The time had come for me to break that silence. I contacted the one man who could look at Hanson and write objectively, Greg Roberts of the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH)
In a article headlined: Hanson suffering delusions: sacked worker, this was written:
A key supporter of Ms Hanson has turned against her accusing the Federal
Independent MP of 'hijacking' the national movement formed in her name and of
suffering delusions about her importance.
The extraordinary attack by a member of the PHSM follows the MP's announcement last week that she is establishing a political party to be called Pauline Hanson One Nation.
The party will be launched on April 11th at a function in the Ipswich Town Hall, in Ms Hanson's electorate of Oxley.
Details will be announced of plans to stand candidates in all Federal seats and for the Senate in all States and Territories. Ms Hanson who is expected soon to launch a book based on her life story, said last week that she might become Prime Minister 'down the track.'
Mr Bruce Whiteside the founder of the PHSM, which has 40 branches nationwide, said he has been forced by Ms Hanson to stand down as the movement's convenor.
"I was asked to stand aside because I would not massage Pauline's ego" Mr Whiteside said from his Gold Coast home.
"For her to say she is Prime Minister material is the ultimate delusion. There is a lot of concern out there among her supporters that she appears to believe in her own invincibility."
Mr Whiteside said the support movement was always intended to be community based a non-political association of people who backed the MP's views."
"The support movement has been hijacked by a politician and parasitic hangers-on and that makes me extremely angry. To mention the words 'political party' will be absolutely fatal to the support she has been getting.'
The article also mentioned that she had also sacked Vic Piconne in the north.
Retribution was swift. I had already been out and brought the SMH and was aware of the story. The day before the photographers had been down to the Coast and taken some shots of the vehicle. This appeared along with the story on the 31st March. It was an accurate account of what I had said. Roberts despite having upset both Pasquarelli and Hanson, whom the pair cutely described as 'not being our most favourite fan', was for my money straight down the middle. I knew that apart from the contents of the article, the by-line of Roberts was going to really get up her nose. But I had no illusions about what I had said. Hanson, simply refused to come down to earth, preferring to suck up all the fawning and back-slapping, which in my opinion, was about as character forming as giving a spoilt brat sweets. My comments were couched to bring her down from her ivory tower and place her feet firmly on the ground.
During the course of the day Ettridge had been alerted to the article. Normally a man who controlled his feelings and was calm and measured in much of what he did, this day was to reveal just how vulnerable he was. Ettridge always had the advantage where I was concerned of knowing precisely where he was headed. On the other hand I had inbuilt antenna that would not allow me to trust him. Against this instinct considerable pressure was being exerted upon me to give him a chance to prove himself. This pressure came from my own committee, who believed this man without question and suspected my motives. It was this inherent lack of judgement on their part that allowed Ettridge and Hanson to 'hi-jack' the movement.
Now he read in the biggest selling municipal daily in the country the Sydney Morning Herald that he, the National Director of the most talked about politician in the land was ...a parasitic hanger-on. How this must have zeroed into the truth. Here it was in black and white, that he and his 'dynamic and brilliant young Liberal', were a pair of scoundrels! As he had done the previous month, he sat down late at night and vented his spleen. Although sent at three minutes to ten the evening before Ettridge pasted a copy of the 'offending' news item to a sheet of A4 and wrote across the top;
Now that you have got this off your chest, please do us all a favour and resist any more damaging media interviews. You only serve to feed our media opponents who desperately need this sort of dissent. You will harm everything we all want for Australia David.
Underneath the clip the date of the issue April 1st '97. Again for purposes
known only to himself, the fax was post-dated. Just as a piranha tears to pieces
his prey in a feeding frenzy, the outwardly calm public face of this man gave
way to a letter that John Pasquarelli once told him would come home to haunt
him. This then is the face of Mr Ettridge, the very private Mr Ettridge that the
public do not see. This is the man who with David Oldfield formed a duo who
ruthlessly cut down all of those, who were to see later, what I was seeing now.
I just happened to be the first victim to be assassinated.
This followed a day or two later. This underpinned what David Oldfield had said to me previously:” You were never going to be allowed to stay with the PHSM. You stand in the way of our agenda. We are going to destroy you.” The fact that I had already donated hundreds of dollars did not prevent him from writing as he does in 4. above.
My opinion of David Oldfield was also shared by others. You need only to read these excerpts to understand what made him tick.