Chapter 14...the graceless prima donna
Note: The payment of all monies were to the Pauline Hanson Support Movement. Note however that the money was also to be forwarded to her electoral office. Remember also that at this time the only membership that was in play was the one that Paul Trewartha demanded be sent to David Ettridge in Manly. That membership list was forwarded on a floppy disc to the Manly Office on Tuesday 18th February 1997. On the the following Sunday Feb 23rd these two illustrations confirm what happened.
David Oldfield was present at the PHSM Formal Dinner, on whose invitation would be pure speculation but did not make himself known at the launch but was seen milling around unknown in the gathering. It was at this point that we are told Tony Abbott became aware that his employee was not working in the interests of him or the Liberal Party.
return to:...the graceless prima donna
On the day of the One Nation launch Trewartha called to pick up Iris. I did not
see him, nor did I have any wish to do so. Iris wrote a letter and left it on my
desk. Before she stepped out of the door to join Trewartha waiting at the gate,
she paused and said:
'This is not right, you have done all the work and you should be there. It makes me very sad.' She then gave me a peck on the cheek and was gone.
I don't really know what I felt. My gut feeling was that she should not have gone because in doing so she aligned herself with and legitimised the people who I now saw as dishonourable to the cause we had started. I knew that her decision to go had nothing to do with any alignment, but everything to do with sense of responsibility and duty to what she had committed herself to. She would see it out, no matter what. I sat down and read Iris's note. There was an air of despair about it all, a wife's concern for the effects that the Hanson thing had wrought upon the person she loved. It read in part;
"I feel very sad about you not being there tonight. You should be up there with
Pauline and being acknowledged for everything you've done."
She concluded by pleading with me to do something about my health.
Vanguard campaigners are not ordinary people; Hanson herself will verify that
otherwise they would not be out in front wholly committed to their chosen
course. There was never any doubt in my mind that I drove myself to the limit,
but there was also no doubt in my own mind that I knew my own capacity to deal
with it. It was personally very corrosive to have my own wife telling those
immediately around her that I was falling apart. I was in fact desperately
fighting to hold it all together, realising that we were going to lose it if
someone did not put an end to the sycophantic worshipping of an idol with feet
of clay. I was a ‘lone voice screaming in a vacuum’. In the end I was simply
outnumbered, not in the sense of within a democratic organisation but simply
swamped in the mad rush to run with Pauline. She had the toffee apple and
everybody wanted to have a lick of it. As Hazelton was to tell me later;
"Bruce you simply stood in the middle of a fast running stream, refusing to be caught up in it all. You tried in vain to warn us all, but nobody was listening. I am genuinely sorry that I was in a position to help you, but like the rest I did not see the dangers ahead. You did, but you were the only one. We thought that you were working against Pauline's interest, but your vision was clear. In the end you've proved us all wrong."
Hazelton herself copped the backlash of the multitude of sycophants when she resigned in a blaze of publicity. Many believed that what she was motivated by spite, but it wasn't; that is why I reinforced her comments on national television. What most people do not understand is that Hazelton had walked out on Pauline days before. Yes she did have in-depth interviews, yes, she did want to maximise the damage to One Nation, but like me her allegiance, sorely tested, remained with Hanson. Where her loyalties no longer lay was with David Oldfield and David Ettridge. These two were architects of the One Nation plan, these two were the leeches that latched onto a movement using Hanson as their passport to personal ambition and agendas. Hazelton was playing her own political allegiances to these two for her own reasons. Oldfield was originally used as a fulcrum to get rid of her pet hate ...John Pasquarelli. Ettridge was held in respect by Hazelton. This shift in Hanson's friendship widened, until Hanson metaphorically moved in with her 'business partners'. From that point the personal friend and secretary became isolated.
Appearances mean nothing. On the evening of the launch of ONE NATION three people sat in that room with preconditioned, but not necessarily preconceived ambitions. They were future Senators Barbara Hazelton and Paul Trewartha. In Hazelton's case Hanson had sanctioned Hazelton's Senate position in my presence in my home. It was to be Oldfield who would facilitate the breakdown of the Hazelton-Hanson relationship. He simply walked all over Hanson and wanted someone of his own choosing. As a result Hanson dumped on Hazelton and because she had no other choice did it in a way that Oldfield demanded.
Milling unobtrusively in the shadows that night a bespectacled bystander with more than a passing interest in the events of the evening. So unobtrusive that only three people knew of his existence. His name; David Oldfield.
An hour after Iris left home for the launch of One Nation at Ipswich, Ian Evans and George Merritt dropped in. They were carrying copies of Pauline Hanson The Truth. George as the leader of the PHSM had been flown up from Adelaide by Jean, Ian's wife, en-route to the One Nation opening at Ipswich. George like me was a pensioner and he had worked with Dr Joseph Wayne-Smith, in getting the book out on time. I have no doubt that Jean contributed toward the cost of printing the thousand editions that went on sale that night. One copy, a Moroccan bound version was put up for auction where it fetched $290. That brought a great deal of satisfaction to Ettridge, as he had pirated the books at short notice for raising funds. But Ettridge was not a fundraiser for nothing; he exploited every avenue to advantage. Indeed before the night was out Alan Smith was to pay $1850 for the privilege of becoming the first member of the One Nation political party. But there never was a political party ...and that money far from going into any party account, which in effect meant an organisation with a membership that elected from its ranks people to the parliament ...went into a fund that was nothing more than a politicised version of the support movement. Nobody objected to raising funds for legitimate purposes, but none of this money was ever to be used to build the peoples support mechanism around Pauline Hanson.
Only moments before the launch began, a special and very hurried meeting was held, to make sure that all monies from that point onward ended up in Manly. The $5 membership of the illegal PHSM Inc, was raised by 800% to $40, No money was ever paid into any political party, other than that deemed and controlled by Ettridge. Later David Oldfield as well as his father Bill Oldfield and self-denial One Nation auditor, former Ettridge accountant Ron Targett, were to be the sole signatories to this party money. One wonders were they were ever aware of what they had been seconded into; somehow I doubt it. I was of the opinion that Ron Targett frequently distanced himself from the nurtured perception that he was the company auditor.
I saw the television clip where my wife sat alongside Ettridge, who in turn sat alongside Hanson. I felt a great sense of nausea when I saw it. It was Trewartha who was responsible for the seating arrangements, but I thought that it was a very sick joke and in extremely bad taste. Hanson who had contributed absolutely nothing to the presentation and celebration of the launch of ONE NATION, went to great pains to thank her parents, her family and David Ettridge, for the great work that he had done in stage managing the event. For the girl who flagged her 'personal ethos for hard work as though it was very much a peculiarity to herself, her effort here was noticeably absent. Hanson's only part of the act was to solicit a band from Sydney that the organisers had to fork out for. The great bulk of the people who put the launch together came from the Gold Coast. I never approved of the formation of this hair-brain scheme, nor did I want or have a bar of it, but in spite of the disappointment I felt toward each and every one of them, I have to say that they worked their butts off to make the evening a success. Yet so instilled in Pauline Hanson are the finer nuances of style and class, of grace and gratitude that she neglected to give one ounce of credit or thanks to those who had not only born the brunt of the work, but carried the financial cost as well. I know one or two were deeply hurt that no reference was made to the PHSM, nor to its founder. This was no accident. This was the pusillanimous act of sheer bastardry conceived and implemented by Ettridge and Oldfield and given its seal of approval by Hanson. For me any personal association with these two people I found quite repugnant. Hanson, icon that she was, was characteristically ungracious and Ettridge was simply the personification of a free-loader. Never-the-less their war with me was not with the members. The very least that Hanson could have done was personally thank them. She didn't and that in my view negates any claims of integrity and principle that she might lay claim to. Class always shines through, this night it was nowhere to be seen. I know that the team here was deeply slighted, but what none of them knew was that they had served their purpose. ONE NATION had been launched on the back of the people's movement. It had cost Hanson nothing, had provided a platform, a membership and most of all the financial fund to put in place the mechanisms for the printing of money, purportedly to build a political party. Now it could be disbanded, it had served its purpose. In its place would come the Pauline Hanson's ONE NATION Supporter's Inc. From that night forth that money would find is way to Manly ...for what? That question has yet to be answered, but one thing is for sure, before that is answered a lot of people will have contributed to something of which they simply knew not …what!
The following morning Iris quietly dropped a copy of a resignation that she had already posted off to Trewartha on my desk. It was polite, but final. Since that day Hanson's name has hardly crossed her lips. Each time the name is mentioned she winces. Nothing more need be said. Iris was able to walk away with dignity, but a great deal of hurt. She was one of the few people I knew, who was not in it for what she could get out of it. My biggest regret is that I unwittingly introduced her to the sordid and seedy world of the political associates of Pauline Hanson and their tawdry kind.