Chapter 24 ...a million voters
A million people voted for One Nation. Today a million people have nowhere to
deposit their protest vote. Had Pauline Hanson listened to her first political
adviser John Pasquarelli, she could well have held the balance of power within
the Senate. How different the political landscape may have been.
The Bulletin Magazine of November 5th 1996 featured on its cover the result of a shock poll. "At least seven senate seats".
But then nobody knew at this time that Hanson had fallen prey to the charms of David Oldfield and was floating on a sea of subterranean subterfuge. The naive girl became putty in their hands and the hopes and aspirations of Hanson's growing legions were dashed, when her compact with her people gave way to sweet nothings. Was Hanson in love with the common interest of her people with the fighting for their cause with championing the injustices that they saw? Was she intoxicated by the power of their following? Did she believe that she was somehow invincible and therefore could take it all for granted? Or did she fall for David Oldfield as her close personal secretary of the time Barbara Hazelton suggested. Hadn't Pauline confided in her by saying that 'David was all that I ever wanted in a man.' Hanson denied this, but then one would expect this. I know Hazelton well enough to accept her word against that of Hanson. What should be appreciated was that at the time of Oldfield's incursion, Hazelton was closer to Hanson than anybody. They were like sisters and I will not accept the premise that Hazelton sold Hanson out. One day the real story will emerge and only then might the sordid machinations that surround the One Nation saga provide some of the answers. Barbara Hazelton knows far more about the inner workings than she has ever revealed. Hazelton I believe could have hung Hanson if she had been driven by the same vindictiveness as her old boss. Hazelton has remained largely 'mum'. Having spoken with Barbara Hazelton very recently I am amazed at her complete indifference to Hanson. Contempt, malice, vindictiveness or bitterness? No, none of those things, only an deep anger that a stupid woman was handed the mantle to help in a real way those thousands of battlers who saw her as a battler for the ordinary man.
I should point out that One Nation remains largely unexposed. Over time more and more will come to the fore, but just as I was at the vanguard of helping Hanson, so too have I been responsible enough to alert a cynical public to what went on behind the scenes. If people wish to berate me on the well worn One Nation cliché, that this account is only 'sour grapes' then realise that this account was never going to see the light of day. The fact that it appears at all must be credited to Mr Scott Balson, who sees the unpublished book as an important historical account of one of the most turbulent episodes in Australian political history. In spite of all the rosy rhetoric of Ettridge and Oldfield extolling their belief in Hanson's views the fact remains that they both helped destroyed her. Lets look at the ledger.
Thousands of people rallied to Hanson, providing physical, financial and
logistical help. Many, many people contributed large amounts of money. Others
supplied reams and reams of material printed at often no cost to assist in the
greater cause. Some like those in George Merritt's Adelaide based PHSM, worked
tirelessly to build the difficult South Australian branch. It was they who
injected thousands of dollars into the One Nation coffers, with the fortuitous
arrival of the celebrated 'Pauline Hanson ...The Truth'.
Some were to lose their lives in promoting the cause of this new star Pauline Hanson. But in spite of all this Hanson became the plaything of ambitious men. One exploited her human weakness to realise his political ambitions, the other became the gatherer of the financial windfall that came with the populist clamour. Some pensioners raided their burial funds so enamoured were they with this new hope. But all this was of no relevance as far as Hanson herself was concerned. She may have gone through the exercise of thanking people, but really she didn't care a damn for any of them.
Hanson has remained wedded to Ettridge and Oldfield. Now that Ettridge has gone
having pulled anchor before the Court of Appeal in Queensland endorsed Justice
Atkinson's verdict that One Nation was fraudulent the question that still
lingers is where did the money go? Some of it has certainly been defrayed
in court litigation. But this is not an explanation that satisfies. If the
integrity of those who invented One Nation had been scrupulous and honest the
need for people to seek justice from the courts would not have arisen. One
Nation was built on deception and therefore its existence was always in peril.
If those who had masqueraded as 'friends of Pauline' ("we, like you Bruce have
Pauline's interest at heart" Ettridge to me on Feb 5 1997) had been true to
their word Pauline would have been a political force today. Instead she is all
but forgotten. The only beneficiaries have been Ettridge and Oldfield. Ettridge
has gone and One Nation is in its death throes. The people have a right to know
and furthermore expect the appropriate authorities to act. What was perpetrated
on the voters of this country in the name of One Nation is a major crime. The
people have a right to know where their money went and why they were innocently
entrapped in a political scam. They want to know why the value of their vote was
nullified, because it was lured into voting for a political party that our
Electoral Commissioners approved. They want to know why the election that that
party participated in was not null and voided by the system. They also want to
know why if the party had been scrupulously clean, that a manufactured voting
system should be so tolerated that it denied voters natural justice. We must
have answers, even if it does eventually bring down political heavyweights!
So what if?
Had Pauline arrived in a position of power, could she have handled the reins? Could she have begun to fulfil the wishes of her people?
The answer to that must be a muted 'I don't think so'. Before the arrival of
Oldfield I expressed well-founded views that John Pasquarelli manipulated her.
John is a strong character, but I am sure that he never made Pauline's heart
miss a beat. He would have had her ensconced in the Senate. Oldfield had a
different sort of control; he is now in the parliament, she is not. He got there
by the efforts of those who had followed and financed Hanson's star. The real
clout that Hanson might have delivered would have come from the solidarity of
her grassroots following. There were many sound people who had a good grasp of
politics who would have been her strength. Hanson was the gathering point for
something much better than the present two party system. There is an anger in
the electorate that has had enough of politicians pervading their lives, of
politicians double-speak, of promises visited upon the people with absolutely no
hope or intention of fulfilling them.
"No child will live in poverty by 1990!" blasted Bob Hawke.
"No. There is no-way that the GST will ever be part of our policy. Never, ever. It is dead, killed by the voters in the last election," bellowed John Howard.
Killed by the voters eh. When did the voters ever count, except at election time. We see the creeping globalisation by multi-nationals while our politicians pay lip service to the concerns of our people. We perceive the surrendering of our industries, of our national icons, of our control of our country sliding away. We see the balance of what was essentially an egalitarian society tipping in favour of those at the top end of the social scale. There is a growing feeling of claustrophobia, of more and more government intervention impacting upon our lives. In a word the people perhaps in simplistic terms have had enough. Weak politicians, the instruments by consent to powerful overseas interests and politically motivated organizations have seen the people’s Australia undermined and progressively sold out. No wonder people have responded to the glimpse of common-sense that was Hanson. It is all very well to say that Hanson appeals to simple people and that they would be better advised to listen to the Costello's, Howard's and Crean's of this world. What should be understood and listened to is the reason why Hanson strikes a chord where they don't. There is no good served by academics and smart talkers dismissing these people as simplistic for in the long run it is they who bear the brunt by virtue of their numbers of the indifference to their concerns. The growing tide of disenchantment toward the main parties will see more and more independents elected. People will ultimately fight back. We have only to see the growing militancy of some of our neighbours to realise that continued ignorance and contempt for the masses will not be tolerated. One day if this trend goes unheeded Australians will revolt.
I have advocated from the first time I met Hanson that she work toward building her support base and then look for likely people with integrity, passion and political nous based on common-sense. Had she done that when I originally asked her that time would have been about now. A team of Independents with Hanson as the titular head could have seen the emergence of a political force rising from the grassroots of this country.
It is a fact that the major political parties in Australia do not listen to or
embrace the grassroots. The Labor Party is a labyrinth of factions and dominated
by trade union careerists. The Liberal Party are elitist and only the Democrats
show any propensity for grassroots input. What worries people like me is that
with Cheryl Kernot defecting to the ranks of the Labor Party and meddling Meg
Lees signing off on the Goods and Services Tax, is there really any difference?
The answer was there for all to see. Hanson had the ball at her feet. Through
political opportunism, through a concerted effort by the Murdoch-Packer press,
through the political chicanery of the two party system and the flawed
preferential voting system an ordinary house-wife never stood a chance. Whilst
she herself contributed greatly to her demise the great losers in all this were
the million voters who dared to seek away out of the corrupted system of
government with powerful business clout.
We must as a people educate ourselves politically so that we have the weapon of understanding to fight this encroaching tyranny of suppression. We cannot survive if we remain politically ignorant, for we can no longer trust our politicians or our media. If we have learnt anything at all from the Hanson phenomenon it is this: anything that upsets the cosy arrangement between big business and either of the two major political parties in Australia, will be ruthlessly dealt with. The chief weapon of destruction is the mass media. There is no such thing as the freedom of the press …unless you own it!
As we watch the once bright Hanson comet fade in the western sky we have to ask
ourselves; ‘what went wrong?’ Well some of those answers are in the book.
Did we expect too much of a ‘fish and chip’ owner and mother of four? I don’t think so. Ben Chifley was an engine-driver, but then he didn’t have to suffer the ‘enlightened age’ when urine filled condoms and faeces impregnated pens of the media were the weapons of the day. Hanson not only fought the established thinking of the day but stirred up the real underlying resentment of the people toward that thinking. Hanson used her voice. It came from the lower strata of society …and therefore it had to be crude, uneducated and to be dismissed.
What frightened the established order of those who believe they were ‘born to rule’ was that Hanson had begun to haul the masses along with her. The masses …think about it …the battler, the tradesman, are the salt of the earth. Their only weapon for change was to have a common voice and a common goal. In Hanson, momentarily, they had an icon.
A million people!
A million people were too threatening for the two party political system to tolerate. Aided and abetted by big business, the biased press, the friends of the multicultural industry, Labour, the Coalition and the yapping Democrats, they were able to neuter Hanson’s legion.
In a country that is becoming more and more suppressed under the yoke of government Hanson’s voice was the call for a way out. Its seems as though we stood aside and allowed her to be brutalised.
The PHSM was created to prevent that.