Chapter 18...twelve hundred and fifty dollar demolition
When candidates were throwing their lot in with One Nation for the 1998 Queensland elections, one man called around to see me; his name, Terry Sharples. Sharples was unknown to me but he was sent around to see me because he was contemplating a deal with Paul Trewartha. Sharples who was to run for the seat of Burleigh set out originally to run as an Independent. He called to see Trewartha with a view to swapping preferences with the ONE NATION candidate. The trouble was that there was no ONE NATION candidate. Trewartha suggested that Sharples might consider coming aboard. Sharples called on me to ask my opinion. I told him to be careful and said I thought he could not be trusted. Sharples ignored my advice and went ahead and paid over $1,250 for a starter kit. Three days out from the election there was a row of sorts over preferences. Sharples had his own ideas and Oldfield had his. However Sharples had made it clear from the outset that he would be allocating his own preferences and that was one of the conditions he demanded for his acceptance. Trewartha tried to calm the waters, but failed. Sharples clashed with Oldfield on the Thursday and words were exchanged. On the evening before the day of the election Trewartha told Sharples that he had been disenfranchised. What Trewartha did not do at that point was return the money that Sharples had shelled out to ONE NATION. That simple omission was to trigger the eventual deregistration of One Nation in two States.*(see footnote)
Many One Nation supporters to put it mildly hated Sharples guts. They hold him responsible for bringing the party down. Let me set the record straight; I am no friend of Terry Sharples, and on two separate occasions he has threatened to sue me; but I was there at the time, so I speak from first-hand knowledge. What Sharples did was to expose the whole rotten road show. Furthermore he did it with my unequivocal support. This was not a vendetta, this was poetic justice and the final act is yet to be played out. I know that Sharples approached both Hanson and Hill about this, to no avail and finally had to take legal action to recover the money.
Having embarked on this course of action Sharples an accountant by profession
began looking at other aspects of the ONE NATION organisation and was not happy
with what he was seeing. As a result of this he decided to test the legality of
the political party in court. He spent countless hours at Bond University,
reading the appropriate laws that would support his case. It was at a point that
other people began to appear. Sharples informed me that what he was doing was
now creating interest from outside quarters. In a casual remark he said that
some heavies in the form of security were coming in from Western Australia, to
'tail him'. I pricked my ears up at this and asked him did the name John Samuel
ring a bell. He told me it did not and I had no reason to disbelieve him. The
following day he called me and said that this same man had rung him and was
coming to the Gold Coast to see him. This time I was surprised. This was when
Sharples decided to play a cloak and dagger game of his own. Over the next day
or so Samuel met with Hazelton, then Sharples at West Burleigh. What was
discussed I have no idea and Sharples told me he had been sworn to secrecy by
Samuel. A couple of days later Samuels flew into Coolangatta and although
Sharples had told me that he would see that I got to meet him, he went alone to
the airport and they spoke briefly between flights. It should be remembered that
Samuel was well known to me and had been for months. What these discussions were
about I really don't have a great idea. What I do know is that Sharples had to
find funding to support his case against ONE NATION. He ran into a deadline and
was sent to a solicitor in Brisbane. That night he called at my home telling me
that he had a Paul Everingham firm acting for him as I understood it, on a pro
"You bloody fool, don't you realise what has happened."
"No what?' Sharples replied a little taken aback.
"These people are using you to nail ONE NATION, they're setting you up. Tell me do you know who Tony Abbott is?"
'No, why?' I still find it hard to believe but that is what he said.
"Oh forget it." I said.
The following day Sharples went to Brisbane and saw Everingham again. That night he rang me on his mobile whilst coming home on the train.
"Kay (Terry's wife) tells me there is a message on the answering machine from ...wait for it, ...Tony Abbott."
What happened next is a book in itself. As a layman I have been absolutely disgusted how men who administer the law in the name of justice can purport to be any better than some of the criminals they defend. I have come to the conclusion that the only difference between common criminals and a great many lawyers and politicians, is a matter of degree ... a University degree. What I have seen in the trials and tribulations of Terry Sharples, gives me great concern for how justice and more importantly the pursuit of truth is raped in a cacophony of legal niceties, positioning and down-right bastardry. I have sighted an undertaking from Tony Abbott, written on Electoral Office stationary, to underpin Sharples to the tune of $20,000 in his fight against ONE NATION, I have seen that undertaking withdrawn when Sharples challenged the system to play the game of truth (as he saw it) instead of manipulating the law to procure a given result, I have seen that money deflected to underpin another Hanson dissident Hazelton who was also taking ONE NATION to court and when the same member of parliament became a cabinet minister and the threat of ONE NATION had abated, that case was withdrawn. ( I will tell you one day Bruce, was the answer I got to the question from Barbara Hazelton. Why?) The parties came to an amicable arrangement.
The word stench comes to mind but what the public never get to hear is how those who hold onto the principle of truth are left dying and bleeding. I see the justice system as a tearaway horse dragging the martyr of truth behind it, never stopping until the battered body has taken its last breath. The truth is vanquished in the name of justice and the lords and wigs feast and wine on the booty of filthy lucre! Colourful, not really ...just call it a growing perception! It sits well alongside other controversial issues like Asians and Aborigines. The law maybe an ass, but its fraternity are a wealthy and often devious one.
And then there is the booty at the end. I saw enough to make me sick. In the end this man Terry Sharples, who for me exemplifies the battler, was hit by the lot. In the end he finished up as he started defending himself. If oil is the lubrication of machinery, then money is the lubrication of barristers and Q.C's. If that is seen as offensive and that is not to imply that all operate the same then it should concern those who place integrity and honesty as the foundations of equal justice.
the final analysis ONE NATION and Terry Sharples don't matter. When they have
been financially stripped of their funds and resources, their lawyers will move
on but in the process people will be chewed up and spat out, and the game of
politics will be settled in the leather covered lounges and cigar filled
corridors of power.
Recently I was slated over the Internet for helping bring about the demise of
One Nation. It was claimed that in helping Terry Sharples that I provided him
with the material to bring that about.
I don't particularly have much time for Sharples and whilst he would I am sure be the first to claim that he and he alone had single-handedly slain the beast, it simply is not true. Terry Sharples spent many hours in my home, pouring over the sort of material that enabled him to finally 'nail' One Nation. He was a man who was always short of money and as a result his zealous perusal of One Nation was also a cost to me. I admired the way that Sharples never gave up. He received some pretty rough treatment by certain politicians, from lawyers, from friends and in the end disappeared.
Sharples and I fell out in the end. It all happened over an affidavit that I
sent to his stalwart friend in Currumbin. This friend
I had known for over ten years thought as I did that it served the purpose, but
Terry insisted putting his own spin on the statement. Three quarters of a page
became four. It was not me and I was having no part of fashioning a statement to
influence the Court. I refused to sign it. Out of desperation Sharples came to
my house with a Justice of the Peace in tow, en-route to Brisbane and the
Supreme Court. In spite of sympathetic backing for Sharples from my wife I
remained resolute. I refused to sign it. Sharples then made some stupid remarks
about my hostility and alluded to the fact that he had a witness, the JP, to
back him up. What Sharples never appreciated was that if I had signed that
affidavit and had I been challenged in the Court as to its authenticity, I would
have to have committed perjury to protect him. That he was prepared to sacrifice
a friend for his own purposes did not impress me. Had I been faced with this
challenge in the Court I would have denied being its author, thereby placing
Sharples in the invidious position of having attempted to mislead. Not only that
but I could have been charged with co-operation. This was the fourth time that
Sharples had taken One Nation on …and this time he succeeded
I lost a good friend over this, not Sharples but the man who received the fax of the original statement. Sharples finally saw Justice Atkinson commit Ettridge and Hanson to trial for fraudulently using the membership that I had created for the PHSM . Patsy Wolfe later sent both to prison.
As a result One Nation ceased to be a recognised political entity in the Queensland Parliament. I take nothing away from Sharples for he did a marvellous job. That I provided material critical to his case, I do not deny. I had no sense of betrayal to Hanson, because to me One Nation was all about Ettridge and Oldfield. When David Oldfield boasted that One Nation was never in fear of deregistration in New South Wales, because he had never been involved with this State, I saw red. John Wasson the New South Wales Electoral Commissioner received from me a whole wad of documentation that proved otherwise. When the party was subsequently deregistered for whatever reason in that State, I felt that justice had finally prevailed
Terry fell over backwards to avoid the action he ultimately took. Few will believe that and I don't particularly feel enamoured toward him, but that is a fact. Hanson brushed him off as though he was irrelevant and has paid the price. He told me that when he had been approached at Tweed Heads that Hanson had asked her security to deal with him.
As recently as June 2000 I wrote to Pauline. I pointed out that I remained her best supporter. Pauline has never acknowledged that a mere non-de-script on the Gold Coast had helped lift her to national prominence and had provided a good enough support base to steal, plunder and use for the launching of a new party. Constantly I had written to her appealing for her to rid herself of One Nation and the destructive baggage that it carried. I had gone on National television extolling the same sentiments ...all to no avail.
Well Pauline dismissed me by the simple act of ignoring all those pleas to come to her senses. She thought that I would simply go away, just as she thought Sharples would. Well let me tell Pauline Hanson that she was the defacto architect of the One Nation demise. Whilst I never believed in the One Nation concept, I always retained the cold clinical remarks of its chief architect David Oldfield; 'You were never going to be allowed to remain in the movement. You would have stood in the way of our agenda. We are going to destroy you."
Perhaps Pauline may have stopped for a moment to realise that if someone had the
ability to create a movement for good, they might just have had enough also to
help bring it down. Pauline Hanson could still rise from the ashes, but she will
never do it with One Nation in her saddlebags. Whether she can extricate herself
from the mess that she is in now is problematical. All I know is that I have
done my best for her. As I write word has come through that she has axed yet
another of her people State President Alan Doak . Every one who fell out of
favour with the Ettridge/Oldfield machine were wiped, ridiculed and vilified
under the banner of Pauline Hanson.
If this rumour is right then we must come to the irrefutable conclusion that HANSON has lost it! Nobody in their right mind can accept that we are all disloyal and therefore traitors. There are now far too many fallen victims of the Hanson following for us all to be wrong. Hanson must now accept that she is patently politically immature and nothing more than an Ettridge/Oldfield vessel. How very sad, how bitterly disappointing.
When Hanson and Ettridge were jailed, Sharples became a high profile media target. He went after Tony Abbott and revealed John Samuel. During that time he paid court to my home on many occasions. Sharples was a user and when this was reported in a southern newspaper he turned very nasty. He delivered a letter to myself and faxed it to the Daily Telegraph for action. The letter was sick. In a spate of two days he made it known that his integrity was impugned by Abbott, Hedley Thomas of the Courier-Mail and me. He was instigating legal action. Sept 8th 2003.
Read in conjunction with the ABC's World Today interview: World Today