Chapter 8...ettridge's mate trewartha
As mentioned previously, our finances were being stretched. We had accounts to meet like the telephone ... some ran to $1,200 a month ... postage, printing, advertising and hall rentals. These were costs that we were trying hard to sustain. As well as running the movement practically single-handed, I was spending often twenty hours a day, on the phone, attending to printing, the organisation of things like bumper stickers, posters and a host of smaller details. I also spent considerable time doing television, radio and newspaper interviews. Yet all this was secondary to the amount of time I spent writing and compiling the necessary paperwork that essentially made up the ground rules and objectives of the PHSM. ALL THIS WAS KNOWN TO HANSON AND HAZELTON!
Concerned that the branch agents were only dealing with voices at the end of a
phone line and that the real reasons why we had consented to allow our callers
to open branches was not being fully understood it was decided that I would go
on a tour. As founder of the PHSM, it made sense that I should be the one to go
out among the embryonic teams. The trouble was that I owned an old car that was
no longer reliable for long hauls. I needed a reliable vehicle and I needed it
fast ...a fact that ran foul of our 'non-de-script lead-weight' committee. I
arranged for a special meeting to be called on New Years Eve. It was held at
10.00am . The issues raised were the urgent need for a vehicle and a new
computer. Prior to this meeting I had sought out the two items and earmarked
them for purchase. The computer was to be discounted from its new price of
$3,200 to $2,000. I had a moral obligation, not a legal one at that stage to
purchase it. When looking for a vehicle I wanted nothing too flash. I approached
a private owner and earmarked his 1987 Sigma Station wagon. He agreed to hold
it. It was with those trains of obligation that I sought confirmation from the
committee, to proceed with the car. The computer was at this stage very much a
secondary consideration. Before going to that meeting I sat down at the
typewriter and wrote a letter, put it in an envelope and sealed it.
There were ten members of the committee present. Paul Trewartha was not available, but it was established later that he was up in Hervey Bay and Rockhampton on secret Hanson business. Even as early as this Trewartha was working for Hanson and Ettridge …his part in the stealth theft of the people’s movement was pivotal. Lindon Litchfield our treasurer chaired the meeting. Here in part is the transcript of minutes.
Lindon asked Bruce (Whiteside) to speak on his need for a computer and car.
After outlining this matter he told the meeting that he has a plan to produce a
national newspaper for the movement with all branches contributing. Lindon then
asked each member to comment on the car at $4,250 and the computer. He then
added that the bank balance was approximately $4,000. The request was that a
loan be undertaken by the committee in Bruce's name with payments being $62 per
week over three years, met by the committee. In general most of the committee
were against the idea with the exception of Ron Paddison.
Before a vote was taken I threw the letter that I had written on the table and walked out. It was my resignation. It can be argued that I acted in haste. In fact I acted in total frustration at those who were playing at being committeemen. I was not interested in their games. I was interested in getting on with the business of establishing the movement. If we didn't do it, others soon would. When my wife (PHSM Secretary) came home she was angry, but I told her that I could not work with those whose vision was obstructed by their inability to see no further than their own possible commitment. Shortly after that I was sitting on the veranda at home, when Ken Waalwyk, dropped in. He was absolutely devastated. I can hear him now:
" Didn't think you would call our bluff".
So there it was. He thought as no doubt the others did that I was fooling. Never had I been more serious in my life. He then spent some time trying to coerce me back, saying, quite rightly that the movement was no movement without me. My response to that was bitter.
'It's too late to recognise that fact now. Nobody would listen, now you can all go to hell.'
After I left the meeting these minutes were recorded.
....A motion was moved by Norm Mann, that the resignation not be accepted until it had been discussed by a full committee on 6th Jan, 1997 and only then if Bruce was willing to sign a statement to the effect that he would not communicate with the media on behalf of the PHSM in the future. It further went on that Norm who was in the car auction business could obtain a suitable vehicle or better still that we could rent one when needed.
After the New Year had got under way I called and saw an old friend, Jean Evans.
Jean is a woman of means who at the time lived in a penthouse in Surfer's
Paradise. An interesting lady she had a grip on politics that few women possess.
She was also passionate in her views and whilst she had always held a respectful
opinion of my views she was far from being easily impressed.
Jean had come from the background of the industrial revolution environs of the Yorkshire coal mines. By dint of skill and initiative she had risen to the ranks of the business successful. An attractive blonde, she was also very astute. She could smell a con-man a mile off, yet would in all probability have seen him off with absolute charm and dignity. I called to see her telling her what had happened. She in turn was very concerned not for the movement, but for me. She knew better than most my deep commitment to the movement, but she was undecided on Hanson. She believed that my loyalty to Hanson was somehow being sullied by association. What Hanson was saying, she had no great problem with, but I maintained that Hanson was essential to the message and that without her, the message was going to be buried. Jean believed that the message would survive Hanson and for that reason she did not join our movement. Over a period of three days Jean came around to believing that I deserved the opportunity to have a vehicle to carry out my tour of the branches. But I was left in no man's land. The money was simply not going to eventuate. I left Evans never knowing whether the vehicle was going to materialise.
It was then that I acted. I withdrew $2,000 on my bankcard, completely without my wife's knowledge and made a down payment on the vehicle. I knew exactly what I was doing and the response that would be forthcoming. Needless to say my wife was ropeable when she found out. She believed that I had gone completely ‘off the rails’ and contacted Lindon Litchfield the movement’s treasurer. This is the point where my mental capacity for making rational decisions was being clandestinely called into question. The upshot of this was that meetings were called with Barbara Hazelton, at which Ron Paddison, Paul Trewartha and I attended. These meeting were interesting, for the patter of the talk was engineered to bring me back into the movement, whilst at the same time committing me to silence as had been agreed before Hanson's departure to the United States. My silence now of course was no longer applicable as I had resigned from the movement. The real threat as they saw it was that my resignation would impact unfavourably against Hanson at a time when she was out of the country. What these people did not consider was that my word was my bond; I had agreed to abide by that decision not to speak to the media even though I did not agree with the decision itself. I was being suppressed. Hanson wanted me gagged!
Hazelton knew exactly what my departure meant to the PHSM. It would have crashed because I had all the documentations and records of branches at home. Without these the movement was 'dead in the water.' This would have been death to the plans that Hanson and the then unknown David Oldfield and David Ettridge were covertly planning for One Nation. Hazelton, apart from Oldfield and Hanson who was overseas, was the only person that realised its portent. For obvious reasons Oldfield could not reveal himself, so Hazelton carried out his instructions.
In the meantime Jean Evans had been contacted and advised what I had done. As a result arrangements which have never been divulged to me took place. Jean rang me and said that she could not finance me as an individual, but would do so if I reconsidered my resignation from the PHSM. I refused. The condition now being imposed was that I would be accepted back into the movement, even though my resignation still had not been accepted, if I signed a pledge not to speak to the media. This was an affront to my integrity and I was not going be stifled by dirty politics, which was now becoming all too apparent. I refused again. Trewartha came around and saw me again. This time he indicated that he had spoken with Jean about the car. Jean had told them that she would finance the car, but I would have to be part of the movement, otherwise her offer would lapse. She believed that my reacceptance to the movement should be totally without any offensive caveat. I spoke with Jean and she sincerely wanted me to bury my pride, 'rise above the 'smallness of the others' as she said and go back for the good of the movement. She asked me to attend the meeting that was to discuss my resignation on Jan 13, 1997. I told her I would think about it. My wife also wanted me to go and finally I agreed although rather reluctantly. That evening I was having a shower when the front door bell rang. By the time I had dried myself and gone to the door there was no sign of anyone. A business envelope lay on the floor. Inside was a cheque made out to Bruce Whiteside for $4,250. It was signed by Jean Evans. Within fifteen minutes Trewartha was at the door, inquiring if I intended going to the meeting. I showed him the cheque ...he already knew all about it.
Readers will gather by now that I was not too enamoured with committees. When I
mooted and assembled the movement I was elected chairman. It was a novel
position for me and one that I was not exactly conversant or comfortable with.
Our earlier meetings were somewhat disorganised and tended to wander. 'I was not
happy with this, yet I was its greatest offender. Paul Trewartha was my vice
chairman and had considerable experience with the committees having worked with
them in the National Party and still did. Not only that but he had similar
positions with the Lions and the Association of Independent Retirees. I decided
that it would be better if he chaired the meetings. This he had done in an
unofficial capacity for a couple of weeks.
I decided to attend and before I left I discussed with Trewartha the position of Chairman. I told him that I wanted to get on with the job I set out to do and that I would appreciate it if we swapped executive positions. I wanted him to assume the Presidency, but I wanted to retain some control. We agreed that at the meeting we would put this to the committee. I would nominate him for the Chairmanship and he would nominate me for Vice President.
After minutes of the previous meeting had been dealt with the matter of my
resignation did not occur because I had announced to the meeting that I had a
cheque to cover the purchase. Once this had been done I was amazed to find that
Paul suggested that monthly payments of $350 be made to Evans, on the last day
of each month. I was flabbergasted. This was the same committee that had denied
me the $62 per week! Trewartha then volunteered to go guarantor on behalf of the
movement. Two others then decided that they too would share that undertaking.
Ron Paddison then moved that a statement be forwarded to Pauline Hanson that no
comments would come from the movement without her prior knowledge and consent.
It was enough to make me sick. The last item of the meeting was the Chairmanship
position, a matter that I raised myself. I cast no blame. It was my decision and
one that I would come to regret. I had proposed Paul as agreed and it had been
seconded by my wife. He was elected unopposed. Next came the position of
Vice-chairman. Paul Trewartha rose to his feet and without turning a hair he
quietly nominated Ron Paddison. I felt the blood drain from my face. There was
along pause, and then Anthony Puls seconded the nomination.
‘Any further nominations?’ John Clodd nominated me. I replied,
'In the light of events I decline.' So Trewartha had stabbed me in the back. Until that moment I had trusted him implicitly ...I would never do so again.
The date was January 13, 1997. Trewartha could hardly believe his luck. But then was it luck? We in the PHSM knew by now that both Hazelton and Trewartha were Hanson's choice for Senate positions in Queensland. Later one man was responsible for both leaving the party ...but for the moment he remained unknown to all but Hazelton and Hanson. He was David Oldfield.
Paul Trewartha's notes whilst working in tandem with Ettridge, with co-operation of 'confidante Barbara'.