Chapter 13...the end justifies the means

 

A week out from the launch of the Pauline Hanson's One Nation, a committee meeting was held at John Clodd's premises under the new regime. With Hanson, Ettridge and Trewartha, now illegally ensconced as President and Vice-presidents of the equally illegal PHSM Inc, a directive was faxed from Ettridge's Manly office.
The purpose of the meeting of the now down-rated Gold Coast Branch was to ostensibly finalise the details of the launch. Those present were the shell of the original movement and others who had come aboard since it had become politicised. The meeting due to start at 6.30pm took place on April 3rd, 1997.
But if those attending including my wife as secretary thought that this was going to be a about final touches, they were in for a rude shock. Twenty one minutes before the meeting was due to commence and late enough to ensure that no word of its intent was transmitted to others for fear that a spanner would be thrown in the works, Ettridge sent the following fax to John Clodd's fax for Paul Trewartha's action.:
 

April 3rd 1997
To: Paul Trewartha
From: David Ettridge
Re: today's committee meeting.
Dear Paul,
In view of Bruce's recent damaging remarks to the media both Pauline and I are in agreement that the PHSM must without delay take the following action at tonight's meeting.
We immediately disassociate the PHSM Inc from Bruce but not in any public way as such would only create further negative media. We will simply cease all contact, and reject any correspondence or dialogue from Bruce.
The movement will not table anything from Bruce at meetings nor dignify any comments he might make about Pauline or the PHSM publicly except to say that 'he is no longer associated with our movement in any way and any comments he makes are not the comments or views of this organisation.
The PHSM on ethical and moral grounds cannot apply any funds received from members to provide a vehicle for Bruce as this in itself is the height of hypocrisy , also, no member will wish nor expect their money to be applied to any purpose that is to Bruce's benefit. The media would feed on this for another day and so would harm us again.
We should also recover from Bruce any equipment bought for or by the movement and also be certain to isolate any telephone calls made by Bruce on April 1st or after. He used those calls to harm us.
The movement shall not send out any material which features Bruce's name. We now have new designs which will be sent to you tomorrow.
From hereon the fax detailed instructions for the launch of ONE NATION.
 

I did not recognise the PHSM Inc for it was totally illegal, so there was no reason why I should attend this meeting. There was no way known that I was ever going to become part of Pauline Hanson's ONE NATION. It was anathema to everything that she promised. ONE NATION was never her idea and she will go to her grave knowing that to be true. Had I known however I would have gate-crashed that meeting. I was not told, nor was any call made to me from that meeting that evening to get there. This was calculated and deliberate move by Trewartha. When Iris arrived home, she was flat. She told me later that when she entered the room three of the committee Trewartha, Paddison and an Anthony Puls were talking together in a back room that had a glass petition between it and where the meeting was to be held. She sensed as women often do that something was 'going on'. Immediately they broke up and came into the meeting.

 

Ettridge's  last minute fax to Trewartha

 

The first thing that Trewartha did was table Ettridge's fax. Iris was asked to stand down as even these bastards understood the indelicacy of what they were about to do. There was very little to discuss. They saw situation through the eyes of Ettridge and voted according to his directions. The appalling thing about all this was the willingness of Trewartha to do Ettridge's dirty work. If this was not bad enough he was able to speak to the committee completely unchallenged. I was not and was never to be given the right of reply. This of course was totally undemocratic and it must be emphasised that this mode of operation was to become standard practice for those who threatened to stand in the road of Ettridge, Hanson or Oldfield. Trewartha was a vital cog. Iris would not show me the fax that she had. She had very mixed emotions about what had happened. She may have been happy to see me out of it, but in spite of twenty years of marriage, she should have known me well enough to know that I was never going to take what these calculating operatives were doing. What she wanted for me was not what I wanted. She believed that the whole thing had got so dirty that I was better out of it for my own health. I was to see it as betraying the simple wishes of the people who had placed their store of faith in what Hanson had stood for. Now crude elements were fashioning the movement of the people for their own agendas. Iris did not understand, nor could she fathom the underhand politics that were going on. Her faith in people was not mine.

Whilst the directive of what Ettridge had faxed to the meeting, to 'consider' paled against what I read over the page. There, brazen and anyone of the committee could not have but noticed was Ettridge the 'appropriator'! Underneath the title, Branch kits, was this. I am preparing a kit which includes: There were eight bullets each detailing the contents of the kit.
Now there is nothing special about putting down the requirements for a new idea, but when someone else puts it all together and then attempts are made to discredit him in a political way by that person, who pirates that exact form, then that becomes plagiarism. The only idea that was not mine, perhaps says more about the man, than myself. It was the fundraising ideas.
One man who was quick off the blocks that evening was seventy year old Ron Paddison. Paddison was the man who Trewartha appointed as his new vice president, after a gentleman's agreement between us to transpose positions, went sour. Trewartha, president of the AIR, (Associated Independent Retirees) had worked with Paddison as its secretary. He had been appointed as chairman of the steering committee to draft the Constitution for the incorporation of the PHSM. Those on that committee were Anthony Puls and Treasurer Lindon Litchfield.  I was not unhappy with Paddison taking charge of this. In fact the subject of incorporation was raised very early in the piece on the October 27, 1996 at a meeting at my home. At that meeting I produced a copy of the Incorporation of Association model rules, which we had agreed to work to. It was a copy that I had had in the house for some eight or nine years and I had sketched in the new format of the proposed new entity. The application for Incorporation was made out by our treasurer, along with the cheque for $65 and sent off being received by the Office of Corporate Affairs on November 6, 1996. There it was to sit and wait the pleasure of Pauline Hanson, until March 10, 1997.

 

 

When Paddison was elected chairman of the steering committee, I passed over to him the rough draft of what was proposed. Not being conversant with the finer points of putting together a Constitution and being told that Paddison would use the AIR format to go by, I was happy enough to go along with the majority on this. I thought, quite wrongly as it turned out that Paddison was a man I could trust. I had good grounds for this because when the entire committee had ruled against the purchase of a vehicle it was Paddison, the one man who I would have thought would have opposed the idea, saw its merits and supported me. For weeks he and his committee, although I suspect that they contributed very little, worked on its contents. Twice he reported back to meetings of its progress, but what concerned us was not so much the finalisation of the constitution, but the procrastination of the Hanson clearance with Corporate Affairs. March 6 1997, Paddison announced to the meeting that the Constitution would be presented for final approval and discussion by March 20, 1997. Notwithstanding this Incorporation was granted by March 10, 1997, a full week before Paddison tendered his final draft. Presumably the Incorporation was either granted without the Constitution being sighted, or another was instituted. There is at this point a very grey area. Who finally cleared the way for Incorporation and where the Constitution materialised from remains a mystery. The PHSM committee and membership were never acquainted with it until it was a fait-accompli. The new entity just assumed that the membership was theirs as a matter of right. It was to be this sort of sleight of hand that was to see membership of the non-existent political party questioned in the Supreme Court. I suspect that Paddison and Trewartha simply co-operated with Ettridge, never fully understanding that they were being manipulated.

That night after the meeting that would have seen Paddison home by nine o'clock, we have to believe that this seventy year old man then sat down and wrote to me  (under instruction) the following letter.

3rd April 1997.
Mr Bruce Whiteside
Dear Sir,
Please be advised in accordance with Rule 8: (3) : (d) the steering committee wish to advise you that effective from the 17th April 1997 that your membership of the Association is terminated.
In accordance with Rule 9: (1) you may lodge an appeal against termination within one month by advising the Secretary in writing.
Yours Sincerely,
Ron Paddison
Secretary
PHSM Inc
Steering Committee.
 

As can be seen there was no preamble as to why this course of action was being taken. Here I was told that as the founder of the movement, that my membership was simply being terminated.  It is said that all it takes is one rotten apple. Paddison and Trewartha were never great friends of mine, but in any other situation I would have found them to be pretty reasonable and decent men. I have no doubt whatsoever they found me to be difficult to control. These men I had believed did things by the book; they had considerable experience at organisational level and had no idea on how to utilise the considerable commitment and zeal that I projected in instigating the PHSM. I dare say that in their own waythey probably had a deal of respect for what I had started otherwise they would not have come aboard. From my perspective their judgment of character and certainly integrity was pathetically astray. They were enamoured by Pauline Hanson, and duped comprehensively by David Ettridge and as a result were slavishly in their control. My reaction to much of what was happening was seen, quite wrongly as being against the Hanson good. The one rotten apple was David Ettridge, he knew it, I knew it ...but he did something that I could not do. He told Hanson that she was wonderful ...and that was good politics. I preferred pragmatism to charismatic charm.
It will be noted that Paddison states ;
 

You may lodge an appeal against termination within one month by advising the Secretary in writing.
 

Given that everything else was above board, which it was not, what was I supposed to respond to? I had no copy of the 'Constitution', which as a properly registered member I would have been entitled to. What did these clauses relate to? I had every right to know and requested that right. Paddison refused to give it to me, not because he didn't want to furnish me with the details, but simply because he had no idea of why the action had been taken and in any case the Constitution books had not even been printed. (and in fact never were.) I think the truth was that Paddison was decidedly uncomfortable about the whole shabby business.
"Bruce, you'd better ask Paul. All I can say is that you should reply."
But I refused to reply. I did however write a detailed letter to Trewartha and a month later received the following:
 

2nd May 1997.
Dear Bruce,
Reasons for termination C1 8 (3) (d) States: Conducts himself or herself in a manner considered to be injurious or predudical (sic) to the character or interests of the association.
Your inability to constructively cooperate with Pauline
(e.g. 24 12.96)
2. Disregard for the committee's opinions and decision. (e.g purchase of car and computer)
3. Inability to leave all major media comments to Pauline.
I should be pleased if you would return all PHSM Inc property to me as soon as possible.
Yours sincerely,
Paul Trewartha
National Vice President & Gold Coast Branch President PHSM.

 

The reply, although Trewartha would not have seen it at the time was transparently clear. Hanson, through Ettridge, but instigated through David Oldfield had set out to deliberately have me removed, simply because as Oldfield told me a few days after this letter:
 

'You were never going to be allowed to stay in the PHSM. You would have only stood in the way of our agenda. We are going to destroy you.'

There were many things about this that were fabricated to facilitate the action they took. First of all, the letter advising of termination' was factually wrong. I had started the original movement and as such I had joined as a financial member of the PHSM. Not only had I paid my $5 for a Registration Certificate to become a 'soldier in Pauline's army, but I had also donated the proceeds of the speech that I had written and delivered at the inaugural meeting. Two hundred odd of these were sold at $5, in other-words I had given Hanson over $1,000. I was never a member of the Incorporated body NOR WERE THE 539 OTHER MEMBERS! So the letter that Paddison sent me had no relevance. This meant that he as an illegally appointed secretary was writing to a non-member of a non-existent organisation, charging him with an offence committed, detailed in a non existent constitution. If this sounds ludicrous, then I can assure readers it was how things were done under the Ettridge/Trewartha order. But as they say in the Tim Shaw commercial ...and but there is more. Trewartha's reply quoted for the first time the 'gravity' of my offence.
 

Conducts himself in a manner considered injurious or (predudical)sic) prejudicial to the character or interest of the association.
 

In item number one, readers will note that my inability to constructively co-operate with Pauline (Hanson, eg 24.12.96) was cited.

What was interesting about this, is that it came as no surprise. What I wanted and this letter produced it was confirmation of the reason they wanted me thrown out. And the reason; Hanson the woman who accused Howard of trying to suppress her right to the freedom of speech, wanted to deny the founder of the movement that bore her name, that same right.
There was no inability to constructively co-operate with Pauline. In fact the word co-operate, is a total anathema to the whole situation. There was no communication, so there was no co-operation. There was no plan or desire on Pauline's part to want to do anything except skim off the benefits that might spin off from the movement. Any reasonable person, and there were thousands, would have seen the support movement as being precisely that. It was created to 'support' the woman, not as implied here to hurt her. What Hanson could never accept was that the people who started the movement had integrity, were unwavering and mostly loyal. It was also a movement apart from her that she did not control. I warned her the first time I spoke with her, to neither 'condone nor condemn' the movement. This was BEFORE the first public meeting took place. Had I sought her imprimatur, I would hardly have asked her not to condone it. I asked and she knows full well that I did, that I wanted her to be comfortable with us. If she felt uneasy then she could ring us, if she was happy with what we were doing then also let us know. Neither of these things happened. The reason is now is obvious, Oldfield had complete charge and she was compliant.

I was often asked by the media what Hanson thought about us. My reply was always the same ...ask her? They all knew what was bugging Hanson, it was not the movement, but the limelight that it was attracting away from her. As far as I was concerned it was a necessary evil and far from being welcomed, I found it most intrusive. Hanson might have relished the publicity, I certainly did not.
The Christmas Eve meeting that Trewartha refers to here was the flash-point. Hanson was fuming that I had commented that she was 'politically naive and that her agenda was being moulded by others. I also pointed out that there was a moat between herself and her loyal supporters.' These were facts, not fallacious remarks. People who know me recognise my strength of character when it comes to speaking out on controversial matters. I do not back away from what I perceive to be the truth. That is my strength; it is sometimes  Hanson's ...this redeeming feature I have always admired, but her failure is that she cannot brook criticism in any shape or form, thereby negating any credibility that she might have had. My remarks far from being 'off the cuff' were designed to bring her down to earth. Criticism coming from her opponents she would naturally see as 'out to get her', but criticism from within her strongest support would surely sound alarm bells for her. It did not. The girl who could not grasp the meaning of xenophobe, had equal difficulty coming to terms with the term 'common-sense'.
"Pauline doesn't listen to anyone any more and is not treating the people who are loyal to her with any respect."

I had been very careful not to comment on any political aspects of Hanson's agenda; that was not our role and we never did it. Yet it was becoming increasingly apparent that Hanson was being manipulated. Most thought as I did that it was Pasquarelli as indeed he tried, but none of us knew the real puppeteer. If we were loyal enough to morally come out and publicly support her, then it would have been remiss of us to have ignored the obvious. Hanson had as a result of our movement, committed herself to a compact with her people. In protecting her we preserved (or tried to) her credibility with the common people. It was to be a battle that she would, through her own stubborn arrogance, finally lose.
What Hanson saw was different. She saw the founder technically speaking her strongest supporter impinging upon her image. Instead of getting on the phone and asking what the hell was going on, she chose to ignore it and then on the eve of her departure to the USA, strode into our meeting (Dec 24) and brazenly tried to prevent me from speaking. If I was red rag to a bull as far as Hanson was concerned, she very quickly found out that two could play the game. Hanson was 'cock-a-hoop', believing that all would wilt before her, but I was damned if I was going to allow this woman to whom I had had the greatest of respect to compromise the very standards that she had railed against John Howard about. Either you believed in the freedom of speech or you did not. Hanson wanted it for herself and worst still was championing for it on behalf of the people she was speaking for, yet here she was blatantly demanding that I shut up! It was a clear case of I'll say what I like, when I like, but I'll not have a voice raised against me. Dictators cherished the same thoughts. Like all dictators Hanson employed sycophantic hit-men. There was a battle royal for a good ten minutes until Ron Paddison, threatened to walk out. The matter ended with a very red Hanson, flustered and angry getting no undertaking from me to remain silent. We were I guess two of a kind.

This is further reinforced in item 3;
 

Inability to leave major media comments to Pauline.
 

It really was pathetic stuff.
This as I have said was the stated reason for termination letter. So let us examine it a little more closely. The Constitution that contained the clauses that were quoted for my reasons for termination did not exist at the time of these comments. The Constitution never ratified by the illegal movement that created it, came into being on March 10, 1997. The 'crime' that I was alleged to have committed took place the day before John Pasquarelli was unfairly dismissed, namely December 8 1996. The charge stated that my remarks were injurious to the Association. There was no Association, yet these two men, normally decent fellows, acted blindly at the behest of men who they have since come to totally despise. The reason for this faxed letter from Ettridge that screamed for my scalp and was referred to as a 'major media comment' makes for interesting reading.  When Hanson had issued the edict that the founder of the PHSM was to remain silent whilst she visited the United States of America, her compliant serf obeyed. In fact I did not speak again to the press until the final day in March, two months after her return! By this time the Movement had been stolen from the people by Oldfield and Ettridge, with the imprimatur of Pauline Hanson and the covert co-operation of Gold Coaster Paul Trewartha. Never let there be any doubt that the success of this act of theft perpetrated against Pauline Hanson's supporters depended heavily upon the cooperation of Trewartha. The driving incentive to expedite what Oldfield and Ettridge had planned was a number two Senate spot on the Queensland ticket. Hanson now installed as the head of the movement asked that I stand aside. This woman, held by many to be the 'darling of the masses, champion of the people and a friend of 'those out there', had now given the order for my execution. I reacted.

Greg Roberts writing in the Sydney Morning Herald said that I had accused her of suffering delusions of grandeur if she believed that she was Prime Minister material. Hanson was beginning to believe her own delusions. This was dangerous stuff and the tragedy was that the suggestion came out of her own office. However the real reason for Ettridge's spiteful brain storm was the very public statement by me of what had taken place. I said:

'The support movement has been hi-jacked 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'.

It angered Ettridge to be classified as a parasitic hanger on. Like Hanson he could dish it out, but he could not take it. In fact he proved to be more than parasitic for he ultimately enticed funds from thousands of ordinary people whose only sin was to dare to believe. What Ettridge could never forgive was the apparent ease with which I saw right through him. However his only defence was to paint me as the devil incarnate. Ettridge did a fine job in that regard, but in doing so he removed the only impediment to filching the hard earned savings of Hanson's battlers. Some of these old age pensioners even raided their burial funds to help support Pauline Hanson.  

Yes I became very angry that these men were allowed to operate with impunity, underpinned by bureaucratic incompetence, firstly at Corporate Affairs level and later at the Australian/Queensland   Electoral Offices. One day the sordid truth will come to the surface. I hope that it will be in my lifetime.
I can only shake my head in wonder. If normally strong and upstanding men within their community are duped by this sort of political thuggery, then the chances of another ‘Hitler’ and all he stood for are as alive and well as ever.

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