Chapter 4 ...a fifth columnist
The telephone ran incessantly for two solid days. As a result we were swamped with sheets of names from callers from across Australia. Very quickly we had to devise a way of keeping these people together. When asked initially what they could do we repeated what we had suggested at the meeting and that was to contact us, where we would forward Dear Supporter letters, job sheets and bumper stickers. In order to facilitate the cost of printing, which in its primitive stage meant buying copying paper and using a copier; we requested that they become members of the PHSM. The cost of this membership $5.00 (five dollars), fulfilled three basic premises. Firstly it was positive proof that the person was a 'soldier in Pauline's army', secondly it was affordable, thereby opening the way for as many people to come aboard as possible, which meant of course that it had an appeal to pensioners and thirdly that it gave us a little revenue that enabled us to continue to print material that would have come to an abrupt halt. It was never devised as a means of creating funds but to reinforce visual support for Hanson.
It is informative at this point to recount the origins of those membership tickets. This account is authentic because like almost everything that came out of the PHSM I was its solitary author.
I designed the tickets based on those I had printed some eight years before for Heart of a Nation. They were printed in red white and blue. Across the top in Alfredo fonts the words Pauline Hanson Support Movement. On the original the abbreviation Inc was missing. The reason for this will be covered later. In the centre of the ticket above the script Registration Certificate, was a photo of Pauline Hanson. Now, this photo is interesting for it came from Hanson's office, which in itself was a recognition of our worth, yet it was Barbara Hazelton ...and our lot may have been considerably tougher had it not been for the rapport that she set up with my wife Iris …who arranged this. To the right of Hanson's photo an inset of the Australian flag and to the left I'm a soldier in Pauline's army. Along with the fee was my name as Chairman, and the postal address.
The original Picture of Pauline sent from her Ipswich office by Heidi.
The word plagiarise is not a word I use lightly. In its true sense it meant the copying of someone else's work and if it is done deliberately then the accusation of uplifting intellectual property may well be settled in a court of law. When the idea is replicated for the same reason as the original then the accident of coincidence becomes less credible. THIS IS WORTH KEEPING IN MIND …FOR LATER!
What appears on the rear of these membership tickets, written by myself serves to prove that since these tickets appeared six months before the launch of ONE NATION, then they were the original ideas. Those who were later to receive ONE NATION Supporters Inc. membership cards will notice almost identical objectives. The original objectives were predicated on honest principles whereas the objectives on the latter One Nation tickets were fashioned to deceive. Reprinted here are the three facets of the original ticket.
OBJECTIVES OF THE PHSM
To lend practical and moral support.
To actively participate in the spreading of Pauline's concerns.
To respond individually or collectively to all adverse criticisms.
To negate the accusations of racism, redneck etc.
To go onto the offensive in the publicity sense where this is possible.
To consciously wear down the climate of political correctness.
To help set up this movement throughout Australia.
To set up organisational structure nationally.
Register the name and incorporate.
Allow local autonomy in other groups within limits.
Initially all practical participation in administration will be voluntary.
It will be noticed that it was intended to create a national movement, but the reality was that we had not couched that eventuality, yet when the sudden rush of interest came upon us we simply forged ahead with the very limited resources we had. Not only that but we were little more than enthusiastic amateurs and none of us were 'publicity literate'. But this did not justify what happened.
Let there be no illusions. I say without equivocation that not only was the movement subsequently stolen from the people, but also intellectual property was uplifted from my premises. The idea of seconding the movement was most likely Oldfield’s, the imprimatur was Hanson’s, but the deed was choreographed by Ettridge. One day, when the truth finally emerges I want to see the law take its course, but to return to what I was saying.
When the PHSM made news, what you invariably saw on television was me and whilst I had no great presentation, I also had no desire to appear to be anything other that what I was. I didn't care much for the media since they beat an almost constant path to my door, seeking this comment or that. Many times I winced at what they ran, knowing that what was shown, or reported was a distortion of what I had said. The practice of editing of footage to distort the item of news on the pretext of time, sometimes called 'sound bites' is totally dishonest. Integrity is not a strong point with many journalists be they any facet of the media.
One of the first things I had to do was draw up a more detailed extrapolation of our goals and intentions. This was brought about when many callers from Sydney in particular, wanted to know if we had already established branches. The answer to that was simply no, for the first steps had only been taken hours before. We also had to cover ourselves against possible legal action and this meant initially seeking incorporation.
I commenced writing the Rules Governing Objective. We had this in place by late September, a few weeks before the public meeting. It consisted of seven pages and as far as a legal document is concerned, it probably did not carry much weight; but then we were not in the business of dotting the 'i's' and crossing the 't's'. My aim was simple, to give a guide to those who were already ‘chafing at the bit’ to start a branch. Again we were not slick operators seeking to stitch people up with a view to personal gain ...they came later. What we drew up was easy enough to understand and operate. The committee viewed the instructions and decided that they would do the trick. None of the original wording was altered and indeed all that followed in the name of the PHSM with the exception of a couple of newsletters written by Iris, came from my pen. I make this point and I make it deliberately.
When it was decided to form the PHSM we started with a handful of people. Most of them were competent, but when it came to political nous and contributing ideas and initiatives, they were essentially barren. I felt many times that I was carrying too much responsibility that could easily result in me being accused of being 'a one man band'. I was aware of this and it worried me, but it also meant that I was so far out in front that the troops were losing sight of me. The only two people in the original group who had any basic political instincts were Paul Trewartha and John Clodd and they largely reinforced my ideas. One man who did have a role to play was our treasurer Lindon Litchfield. He was given the job of applying to the Corporate Affairs department for incorporation. He lodged an application along with the fee of $65 on November 6th 1996. Before this was done we asked Pauline for permission to use her name. When approached she had no problem with doing so, but when the Corporate Affairs sought confirmation in writing the fun began. What happened then was a period of procrastination that was finally resolved when Hanson and her henchmen controlled the infant movement; four months later! Yet Hanson had told me that she had no problems with us using her name.
At the time, no one had cause to suspect that the Incorporation move was being thwarted. From time to time we approached the Ipswich office and we were always told the same thing; ‘Pauline's workload was so heavy that it had simply been overlooked.’ What none of us knew was that Hanson was emotionally infatuated with David Oldfield and abdicated the essence of loyalty that she so stridently demanded of everyone else. The result was Hanson's loyal support was being subverted. John Pasquarelli had prevented Hanson's name from being used because he believed unscrupulous operators would exploit it. Later he admitted as much, but Hanson never took advice from Pasquarelli anyway. The real obstruction was coming from the unknown David Oldfield, to whom Pasquarelli was blissfully unaware. Ettridge then moved to register the name as a trade-mark and claim it as his own.
These were early days. Two people who were to have a marked affect on out fledgling movement were among the avalanche of early callers who rang our home. Their names were Steve Menagh and Steve Love. Menagh called on November 2nd 1996 and Love two days later. Both calls emanated from Sydney.
Menagh's first contact was with my wife who was secretary. From her recollections he was very enthusiastic and like so many who wait for others to take the initiative he was, he said, 'right behind Hanson.' He said that he had seen the film clips on the news and wanted to know where he could purchase a ‘I'm a Pauline Hanson supporter' tee shirt. He was advised where these could be purchased and after waxing lyrical about Hanson, rang off. A few days later he rang again. Again he made contact with Iris. This time he wanted to speak with me, but not before he had painted a graphic picture of how he had marched through the streets of Hurstville, boldly strutting his ‘Hanson’ tee-shirt. As I was not in at the time he asked my wife how he could join the movement. She informed him and we heard nothing for a few days. The third time he rang was in the evening, this time he struck me. He seemed a little more animated than most, but I took that, (wrongly as it turned out) to be unrestrained enthusiasm. Remember, this was early in the peace, when support for Hanson was still veiled in reluctance to show one-self and thin on the ground. The matter of starting a branch in Sydney was raised and he said that he believed he could get others to share his desire to start one. I told him to explore that possibility and we would talk at a later date. The result was that by the end of November Menagh had received from our Gold Coast operations all the necessary paperwork, authorities, tee shirts, Registration Certificates and a contract. Finally he requested a mailing box. This was granted and Menagh then promptly disappeared. His address was vacated, his phone disconnected. Less than two months later he surfaced in a grotty little office above an adult sex shop on the Corso in Manly. He had been rewarded with a non-voting directorship of the embryonic and notorious filching machine ONE NATION Ltd. His boss was one a Mr David Ettridge, as yet unknown to us.
Steven Love was a different character. He was swept along by another sort of political enthusiasm. He was young and from what I gathered in my brief conversations, a man who like many enthusiastic party members, felt that he was no more than a necessary back-drop to the anointed and likely to remain so. He was curious and explained that as a young Liberal he was attracted to much of what Hanson was saying, but he had to be careful because if he made the wrong decision he would probably regret it later. I advised him to think about it and come back later, at the same time assuring him that he was not alone in what he was contemplating. We would welcome him but coercion was not a part of our philosophy.
Two nights later November 6th 1996, Love rang me and advised that he had decided to quit and join the PHSM. Not until then had I been aware that he was in fact not only a member of the young Liberals but was the President of the Young Liberals Wakehurst branch. Now this was no ordinary defection; this was something of a coup and had I been a student in political chicanery I would have realised that here indeed was not only a burgeoning political shift but a big story to boot. I didn't. I was only delighted to welcome him aboard realising that if this was going to develop into a trend then Hanson was going to gather a real force behind her that would take no account of political allegiances. After this we discussed how he could join up and sometime in the future become a part of a vibrant team lead by Hanson.
So, whatever happened to Steve Love? He did not became a member as far as I know and only once did he contact me again. That call left many unanswered questions. However that was not to be the end of the matter.