Chapter 9...the politics of graft

 

Whilst the cheque had been made payable to me for $4,250, Jean Evans later exchanged that for two separate amounts, one to me for $2000 and the other to the owner of the vehicle for $2,450. The first I paid off the bankcard, the other Paul and I went around to settle with the owner and pick up the vehicle. This cheque was Evans's and had nothing to do with Trewartha. From there we went to pick up a roadworthy, that Trewartha settled out of his own pocket. Once that was done we obtained Queensland Registration, that was made out in my name and NOT that of the movement; here again Trewartha paid the bill.
For all intents and purposes the vehicle was mine to use. Almost immediately I began planning in earnest the trip across the State that I had originally drawn up. This time I was told to pare back the schedule and take John Clodd with me. I liked the idea of John coming along, as he better than most was demonstrably committed to the movement and more politically aware than the others.
I arranged to have the vehicle sign written. This was a donation to the movement from Miami Signs. Along each side of the cream station wagon in letters ten inches high in royal blue was emblazoned, Pauline Hanson Support Movement. It was accompanied by a red lettered 'Giving Government Back to the People.' Ironically, the only time it was used was to launch the PHSM in Ipswich. It was there that I spoke on the same platform as Hanson herself. The only memory I have of that meeting was when a journalist from the Australian Associated Press commented that 'the body language between you and Hanson, said it all. She hates your guts.'

When Hanson arrived home from her trip to the States I rang Hazelton and told her that I wanted to talk with her. I explained to Hazelton about the proposed tour across the State which was now being threatened by a developing cyclone that was to become the destructive Justin.  Hazelton contacted Hanson and the day was agreed upon; it was to be a Sunday late in January.
About this time I was becoming very ragged around the edges. I was short, scratchy and decidedly hard to live with. Iris believed that I was heading for a breakdown and wanted me to slow up. The truth was that I was pouring all my energies into the movement and I could feel that something was not right. Even so I never suspected that anything was drastically amiss. I put it down to the frustration that I was running into plus the recent unsavoury move of Trewartha.

Hanson was due to call on me just after lunch. About two o'clock Iris decided to go out to leave me talk to Hanson alone. I waited …and waited. The afternoon was dragging on when the phone rang. It was Jean Evans. Something was wrong and Jean was far from happy. She told me that Hanson and Hazelton had not long left her place and that they were on their way down. They had discussed the car with her expressing their thanks for helping the movement. If much more was discussed then Jean did not amplify. They had she said met with Paul Trewartha and Ron Paddison earlier that morning and much was discussed. Here again Jean did not expand, possibly because she did not know. What Jean told me next sent chills down my spine.
'I can't sit here and not let you know, but Pauline and Barbara are meeting secretly with Iris.'
'What!', I said in a completely unbelieving voice.
'Look Bruce, I think I know you well enough to know that what is happening you do not deserve. I don't know what is going on, but I think the whole thing has an odour about it.'
I was sitting at the computer when I heard high-heel shoes on the concrete around the side of the house. It had just gone 4.30p.m. I had not heard a car pull up so when I went to the door I was not expecting to see Hanson and Hazelton standing outside. They had not rung the door-bell. I opened the door and it was patently obvious I was not glad to see them. Hanson spoke first.
'We've come to see you. Aren't you going to ask us in?'
The sheer effrontery of the woman! She had not come of her own accord, but as a response to my request. She was already over two hours late. Her arrogance was breathtaking.
'What ...at this time of the day?' I retorted
With more than a degree of indifference I opened the door and they came in. Hanson moved to the side and Hazelton followed her in. They both stood with their backs to the sliding glass doors, highlighted against the garden background. What Hanson blurted out next, had she been a man I would have smacked her in the mouth there and then.
"Bruce we have agreed to talk with you provided that you go back onto your medication."
What the hell was she driving at? My response was immediate.
"THAT Pauline, could cost you your political career. Imagine the headlines, Hanson tells the founder of her support movement that he should go on medication. I am sure the media would have a field day on that." I went on
"Just who the hell do you think you are coming in here and taking on the mantle of a medical adviser. You are arrogant and have absolutely no right to come into my home and talk like that." Hazelton, always at call to bail out Hanson's faux pas, then told me that 'Pauline meant well. She is only thinking of your health'.
What utter bloody poppy-cock! Hanson never considered anybody but her own selfish ends. Barbara always tried to sooth the path for Pauline and told me after both had sat down that Iris was concerned for me. So that was it!

My wife for reasons far removed from that of Hanson and Hazelton had agreed, unknown to me, to their request to meet with them. It appears as though the topic of discussion was ‘my health.’ To be more to the point with no penchant on my part for delicacy, my mental health. What was discussed that day was certainly not in my interest. This meeting was instigated by Hanson, Hazelton and Trewartha, people to whom Iris had no reason to see as other than friends.

Whatever transpired, one thing is for certain, and the confidentiality of what Iris told them was not only broken but later used by Ettridge and Oldfield to try to destroy me.

As Hanson stood there the epitome of crass ignorance I remember thinking, 'girl you've got an opinion on everything from Asians, to Aborigines and now you are an authority on health, mental health at that. I was absolutely astonished at the tactlessness of it all. Had it not occurred to either of these women that what they had said, had it been true, could well have triggered a dreadful situation when my wife returned home that night? Suffice to say here that the result of that meeting led to both David Ettridge and David Oldfield questioning my mental stability in public arenas as far apart as  Perth (Radio 6PR with Howard Sattler and Oldfield) and Television NZ  with Kerrie Webb and Ettridge).

Both went out of their way to destroy my integrity and credibility. Ettridge told Television One in New Zealand that I was ‘psychotic, manic depressive and mad’, whilst Oldfield told Howard Sattler on 6PR Perth that and I quote; ‘Howard, I want you and your listeners to understand that Mr Whiteside is a very, very sick man.’  (see footnote)

For two hours we argued over the PHSM and Hanson. We fought over some of the things that I was supposed to have said and when the heat was turned up Hazelton would instinctively wade into Hanson's defence. I asked many question on policies, but Hanson, would be cut off by Hazelton, time and time again. The trouble was that Hanson could not articulate or hold her line of argument. She was essentially a verbal arsonist, lighting fires of controversy and then running like hell. It was part of her charm and a charm I might add that in the right hands could have been very effective. I threatened to throw Hazelton out of the house if she continued to bale Hanson out. Pauline retaliated that she would leave too, but it never came to that. It was just after this that I unwittingly created the reason for Hazelton's ultimate resignation down the track.

Hazelton's insistence on answering at every opportunity for Hanson and my view that she had a great deal of influence over Hanson, drew me to one conclusion; that she was setting Hanson up ...for a Senate position.
'Look Barbara you fool no one. You did not fly back from Hong Kong and make a bee-line for Hanson for nothing. You're in this for yourself. You want to make yourself indispensable to Pauline so that you can secure a Senate seat.’ Hazelton, went as red as beet-root. She was stopped in her tracks and decidedly embarrassed. Hanson, brimming with indignation at what I had just said lashed out, 'Barbara is my best friend, if she wants to run for the Senate, then she has my blessing and support.'

Ironically after that the meeting became less heated and for the last half hour it was civil. It was 6.30pm by the time I walked then to the door. I shook hands with both. Hazelton was frosty, Hanson, pleasant. At the gate Hazelton walked to the car where Pauline's daughter had been waiting for over two hours. Hanson turned and faced me and looked me in the face for the only time that I have known her. I said to her, ' I will not let you down, no matter what happens.' What she did next has perplexed me to this day.' She threw her arms around me and gave me a hug ...and was gone.

A few days later on the evening of February 3rd 1997, a committee meeting was held at John Clodd's rooms. During the course of that meeting Paul Trewartha said that he had rung Pauline and that she had informed him that a David Ettridge, her new National Adviser would visit us. This came out of the blue to all of us. Only Hazelton and of course Trewartha, knew of this man. We had never heard of him. Meanwhile, a memo went out from this meeting explaining to branches why the Movement appeared to be in limbo. Already Iris as Secretary and I were fielding many questions and being blamed for our inertia. In her book Pauline, the Hanson Phenomenon, Helen Dodd, made the erroneous statement on page 98 that ‘He (Whiteside) was very passionate about the movement he had created but it was never well managed.’ Had Dodd given as much space to me as she had to both Oldfield and Ettridge, then she may have appreciated that ‘bad management’ had nothing to do with it. When writing the book I spoke briefly with Dodd who undertook to come to the Coast to interview me. I am still waiting years later. On the strength of that she wrote 'authoritatively', or so one would have been led to believe. Given the research that she did for the rest of the book, given the detail of her conversations with Ettridge and Oldfield, she not only let me down, but herself as well. Dodd had the capacity to give a very good account of what I was hoping to achieve. Instead she second guessed and did the movement no credit whatever. What Dodd did not know was that an embargo was imposed on the PHSM that effectively stopped us doing anything. ‘Things were going to happen.’ In a word we were being side-tracked, whilst Oldfield, Ettridge, Hanson and Trewartha were organising their plans to use the movement to build their dreams of upon.

Iris who had been visiting her family in Adelaide had reported back to us about the movement down there, indicating that they were rearing to go in the coming year.

The order for new Registration Certificate books with 'incorporation' stamped on them was placed on order to be printed as soon as word came through. Unfortunately these were printed prematurely by mistake and when Hanson finally authorised the incorporation these were never utilised and the printer was left unpaid. Fifteen thousand membership tickets ended up at the local dump.

I reported on a call I had from Dr Joseph Wayne-Smith, who informed me that he was writing a book in support of Hanson and that he was looking for a publisher. Peter Prescott, a new member of the committee told us that he may be able to address that matter and said he would get back to us. He never did.
Vic Piconne, from Silkwood, North Queensland had rung me and told us that he had raised thousands of dollars with over 1600 people attending seven functions. He was buoyant, ribbing me for not being as popular with Hanson as he was. Candidly I was worried about Piccone. He had undertaken to build the movement in the north. He was capable, I had no doubt, but these functions, these hiring of helicopters and expensive office equipment, were a worry we could do without. Even so, despite being back from the USA Hanson had still not honoured her commitment to us, for incorporation.


IT WAS NOT LONG AFTER THIS THAT PICONNE WAS GIVEN HIS MARCHING ORDERS FROM HANSON. ETTRIDGE ALLUDED TO THE SUGGESTION THAT PICONNE WAS SOMEHOW LESS THAN HONEST. WHAT I CAN SAY IS THAT WHILST I FOUND PICONNE KEEN TO IGNORE DIRECTIVES, HE DID A GOOD JOB IN THE NORTH. IT WAS ONLY WHEN HANSON AND ETTRIDGE DECIDED THAT THEY WERE A LAW UNTO THEMSELVES THAT TROUBLE BEGAN TO EMERGE. PICONNE SENT ME AN AUDITED BALANCE SHEET. I HAVE TO THIS DAY. THE AUDIT COVERED A PERIOD FROM DECEMBER 17TH 1996 UNTIL MARCH 31ST 1997. IT WAS CARRIED OUT BY KPMG WITH QUALIFICATIONS. AN AUDIT IF YOU PLEASE! TO THINK THAT DAVID ETTRIDGE COULD DOUBT PICONNE’S HONESTY! …AN AUDIT! DID I HEAR A PLEASE EXPLAIN?

The word audit amuses me in the context of David Ettridge. It was his own accountant who according to David was One Nation's official auditor. I never believed that Ron Targett was happy with this label. It is my guess that this was Ettridge-speak and that Targett only ever perused figures put to him for checking out.

 

 

The following day Feb 4th Hazelton rang Iris and asked if we could put a meal on for David Ettridge. Iris agreed. When I spoke with Hazelton she was coy about this unknown, Ettridge, but assured me that all my questions would be answered by him. I looked forward to his visit with a mind that this could be the first time that I could work with someone who might have some ideas. Certainly I saw the situation as being a positive.

Paul Trewartha, (who else,) insisted on picking Ettridge up at the airport. In the meantime Ron Paddison, Iris and I had assembled in our lounge. When Paul arrived with his charge, we were confronted by a smart looking, immaculate middle-aged man. We were introduced to him and before long sat down to a three course meal, that Iris had prepared.
David was very impressionable. He handled himself with the utmost confidence, without seeming to be pushy. He was pleasant and without putting any degree of cynicism on this observation, charm personified. During the course of the meal he told us about his family, about his role with World Vision and how he admired Pauline Hanson. He appeared to me to be totally credible. I think I speak for all those who were at the table that we thought he was going to be a great help.
After our meal we made our way to John Clodd's Surfprint, at Mermaid Beach eager to hear what David Ettridge was about to tell us. We knew from what little we had been told, that he wanted to let us know what the plans for Pauline were and how we could dovetail in with them. In a private conversation that Ettridge and I had before the 'formal' meeting he told me in broad terms that they, Pauline and himself had decided to form a party. I immediately told him that the word 'party' was anathema to Hanson as she had explicitly said much earlier that she would not conform to any party dictate. This was one of the things that I admired about Hanson. Ettridge liked the idea and agreed that I had a good point.  "Brilliant' he enthused and went on to say, 'from now on the word 'party' is no longer in our vocabulary', nor was it. I believed at that point that the PHSM would be a complimentary entity, retaining its own independence. This I indicated. 'That is right Bruce. The only people who will be behind Pauline will be the Support Movement. Like you say on your membership tickets 'Soldiers in Pauline’s Army.'  I remember once Pauline telling me that she did not like this idea, because it sounded too much like the Salvation Army. I joked 'that’s not a bad bench-mark' but the comment was lost on her. Ettridge went on to say that the only 'political entity' would be confined to Hanson, himself and 'those who were elected into the parliament'. In other words the body of any new party would be politically inert. I was never happy with this concept and instantly decided that I would have nothing to do with the 'political arm' of Hanson. It became crystal clear in those few minutes that the people would be there for two essential reasons; to facilitate the logistics of running future candidates and to provide a financial base. "We want $15 million to fight the federal election,' he concluded. In other-words the PHSM was going to become the donkey that underpinned Ettridge's dream. I was having none of it!

The meeting was a formal gathering with twenty odd people turning up. Ettridge was introduced to each person and then we all settled down to hear what he had to say. Paul Trewartha briefly told those present that David had come to the Gold Coast at Hanson's request to let us know the 'state of play.'( Hazelton was later to tell me that Hanson had sent him down for one specific reason; to get rid of you and take over the movement.) David commenced by telling us a little of where he had come from. ‘Like you’ he said he ‘admired Pauline very much'. 'It was important', he went on 'that we worked together and helped Pauline achieve her goals.’ When questioned on what he had done on a commercial basis that had caused Hanson to engage him as her National Director, he waved a copy of a glossy blue brochure and said that he was ‘now marketing a magazine with great potential called Champions.’

 

The calling card that impressed the members of the PHSM. This was David Ettridge's passport to second and seduce gullible people into believing that he had strong  support from Carl Lewis. Trevor Hendy, Michael Jordon, Craig McDermott, Hayley Lewis to name a few. Needless to say the Hanson's and her people were very easily impressed. I was not one of them ...

 This meant nothing to any of us, until he said that the fast-food chain McDonald's had got behind him to promote it. This was heady stuff to gullible people. Ettridge was a smooth operator. I began to get the feeling that he was really a light-weight, but the meeting were absolutely besotted with his velvet touch and spiel. Ettridge told us that we had started something that was really big, but in order for it to achieve anything it must be organised with discipline and military organisation. Secretly I agreed. He went on;
"What I want to see is what you've started build into something that will bring about a great change in the way government is done in this country. Pauline provides that hope. I believe that this whole thing should be done differently. With that in mind Pauline has detailed me to become her National Director. From now on it will be my job to bring all this together. Pauline has chosen to make Manly her Australian headquarters.'

At this point I interjected. I had suddenly locked onto the words 'What I want', and it all became crystal clear what this was about.
"Mr Ettridge, you appear to forget that we are not Pauline Hanson’s property; we are her support movement by our own choice. What Hanson does is her own business.' A little flustered Ettridge went on,
"That is the point I am making Bruce. I want to tell you that Pauline has asked me to take control of her political career and that means the movement that has her name."
He inferred that we already owned something that was not ours, which by definition of carrying her name, was rightfully hers.  You could hear Ettridge's tone changing; it went from being totally patronising to one of growing tenseness. I was not the only one to sense this as one or two of our more committed men cast a furrowed brow in my direction. John Clodd in particular was worried by Ettridge's words, but then he was more finely attuned to the politics of what was being said. The women were more focussed on this handsome looking man, who was saying all these nice things about us and essentially agreeing with what we were doing. They saw Ettridge as joining forces with us, a man who was going to help us get Hanson up as a political force.
We on the Gold Coast were the headquarters of the movement. Every item that was in the system stemmed from the work of three people, even though we were eighteen in number. The tee- shirts, bumper stickers, posters, lapel badges ...which entailed much silk-screen work ...and had taken many hours to produce, was the work of the Clodd family. The tee-shirts had taken on a life of their own and as Hanson gained more media attention, the orders for tee-shirts began to escalate. It was the same with bumper stickers ...the orders continued to grow. As founder of the movement I had no problem with this. The Clodd’s had done all the hard work, much of it donated and then for a while at cost. Once we were up and running I believed that all the merchandise should be produced by him. Even so John  Clodd was always going to donate 20% to the movement.
Our newsletters, were now giving way to the idea of a national newspaper
.

 

 

This of course was an ambitious project, but already I had developed a conduit for bringing this about. In fact at the time in my own home which was essentially the PHSM office, a large bench had been installed to create the embryonic newspaper on. Waiting, earmarked was a computer with the appropriate software. Already I had produced a draft copy of the PHSM Herald, which the committee responded to very favourably. I had also arranged to have a local publishing company produce ten thousand copies. This was still in its early stages of development.

Ettridge went on; "There is only one person in charge from now on and that is myself. This is the way it has to be. We do not and cannot succeed with an independent organisation. It has to be understood that all of you will take your orders from me. When I say all, I mean from Pauline down. Pauline will be 'marketed'; she will be sold as a commercial product."
Now this was unbelievable stuff. Hanson ...marketed! And who else was qualified enough to do it? An ex World Vision fundraiser ...that's who.
One or two of us began to see that Hanson's only attraction to Ettridge had nothing to do with her political welfare but everything to do with personal agendas.
'What do you intend to do with Hazelton?' I shot across his bows.
"Hazelton will answer to me as will Hanson and all of you. She will be reined in and confined to her Oxley office. Her influence on Pauline will cease.'

I had expressed to Ettridge that I believed that Hazelton exerted too much influence, so in a sense I was not unhappy with this development. I had always believed that Hanson needed space to work in and that too many people were shoving their own ideas down her throat. In Hazelton's case her influence was not so much political advice, but to whom she should speak with.
'As I understand it Mr Ettridge, from what you are saying is that you are going to set up in Manly and control Hanson, who is a completely independent entity and because we are a support movement, NOT A HANSON ENTITY, you intend to organise us as well. If that is so, what is our role, who is going to produce the merchandise, who is going to put out the newspaper and more importantly, who is going control the financial aspects."
"Your role will be to develop the Queensland Branch. You are quite right Bruce, the control will come from Manly. It is only right that since we will be the new Headquarters, that we produce all the written material, which you will distribute. We also have the plant to print all the merchandise that is being printed here."

John Clodd took issue with this, since the initiative and creation of this material had come from the Gold Coast. Ettridge told him that a certain amount of residual work, (presumably that which had no material gain in it for him) would still be done here. There was something about all this that sounded alarm bells for me. I thought about what I was to ask next, whilst Ettridge was dampening down the concerns of one or two others who were pushing this thing beyond his comfort level.
You tell us David that Hanson will answer to you, that Hazelton will answer to you. You have come here as an uninvited visitor and tell us that we will answer to you ...what I want to know is who do you answer to”?

Ettridge could not conceal the discomfort of this question. He hadn't expected it ...he groped momentarily to retain his composure.
"Good question ...he paused. 'Well ...all you need to know, since you ask Bruce is that he is a 'brilliant and dynamic young Liberal.' He will be the man who will build this new party that will be called ONE NATION.'

One Nation! What the hell was all this about? Coldly I shot back at him. "And just who is this 'brilliant and dynamic young Liberal?'
'You will know him simply as Mr 'X'.

So there it was, cloak and dagger stuff, brimming with paranoia even before they got started. It was to be the fore-runner of what was to come, but no one there was to see it coming. I was angry and in no mood for pleasantries. I stood up, fixed my gaze on Ettridge and said:

 'Mr Ettridge, you are nothing but a bloody con man. Now bugger-off back to Sydney and forget all about us.'

Closing my brief-case I turned and walked out of the room midst a shocked silence. Edwin Burke once said: 'For evil to flourish, all it needs is for good men to do nothing.'

When I left the room that day February 5th 1997 I left behind many good people, but they did nothing. In the end evil flourished and manifested itself not so much in Pauline Hanson, but through the 'architects' of the abomination One Nation.  In the end both Ettridge and the brilliant and dynamic young Liberal, Mr X' would meet their demise, but Pauline Hanson would take four years to come to terms with what I was saying here. How thick was Hanson and even thicker still that she gave herself full marks for getting rid of them?

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ADDENDUM

This  letter  appeared on Scott Balson's  News of the Day (@anotd) way back in 1999. I have no idea who Alan Mayle is. Amazingly I have only just seen it for the first time as at 10 Nov. 2011. I never understood how all of those who were involved with Hanson could not see what I saw that day in David Ettridge. It took me two hours to sum Ettridge up. This man Mayle will never know how relieved I was to see this letter in print.

Courtesy of Scott Balson

Having read "INSIDE ONE NATION" and the comments of others I have to say that in my opinion the man who holds the key to seeing justice done is not Balson or Lee as one of your writers suggest, but Whiteside who it appears not only gave Mr Sharples ammunition to bring One Nation unstuck but also provided the turning point in Scott's own association with the Hanson machine.

One can only surmise, in the light of Ettridge's letter to Scott, the true extent of this man's treatment of Whiteside. What I cannot understand or comprehend is why this man was ignored when it appears as early as February 1997, he was drawn not only to reject Ettridge but to label him a conman, which to this day has apparently gone unchallenged.

In the light of this I would advise your readers to say without fear what they really think of David Ettridge, remembering that the tone of his letter reflects much of what has become today, the impossible, unapproachable and untenable Pauline Hanson.

It should also be noted that Hanson herself whilst lashing out at David Oldfield has refrained from attacking Ettridge. The question is: What does this man have over Hanson to buy her silence?

Alan Mayle

 

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Authors note at this juncture: Mention is made of a meeting between Hanson, Hazelton and my wife Iris, that took place on the beachfront at Miami. The topic as indicated was my ‘heath’. In fact what was under discussion was my ‘mental health’. The medication was ‘lithium’ and I have to accept that my wife’s concern was valid. Originally I wrote a complete chapter on this very hurtful phase that saw my wife’s genuine concern cross-pollinated with dirty politics. It was in many ways a very sad and cruel revelation of my own personal turmoil at the time. When this book was about to be published, my wife ‘hit the roof’ at its inclusion and as a consequence that episode had been withdrawn. The simple truth was that my wife’s appreciation of politics is not mine. Hanson passed on the genuine concern of a woman whose husband was being torn apart, to be used as a weapon of destruction.
The legacy of that meeting left a marriage deeply scarred. Reference is made elsewhere of remarks that pertained to this meeting.

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This book is being revised in September 2011. The reason being that One Nation is being rejuvenated as a potential new party. On their websites they have included the writings of David Ettridge. What is disconcerting for me and a complete misrepresentation of how One Nation came to be is without honesty, integrity and truth. New members must be made aware that what they are being told is not correct.

As a result the chapter (15) previously omitted even though it is terribly hurtful to my wife and I will now be included. If historians search for facts, then I must in all honesty place this period on record.

 

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