In September 1996 Pauline Hanson in her maiden speech to the Federal Parliament expressed what a great many people were thinking;
At the end of October preceding the public support meeting an informal gathering was arranged and held at the home of Bruce and Iris Whiteside here on the Gold Coast. Present at the meeting apart from Bruce and Iris were people such as Paul Trewartha, Ron Paddison, Judy Gash, John and Amanda Clodd, a couple of others and myself.
The reason was that it was thought with Pauline having such unprecedented public support something should be done to harness the support and promote her without the need to form a political party. It was decided to form a committee to handle details and the result was the forming of the Pauline Hanson Support Movement. This was the original Movement, not to be confused with the Incorporated one that came later.
Our first mistake was probably the forming of a committee as Bruce was totally against this based on previous experiences, however I believe with something like this you need some sort of formality to avoid everyone running around doing their own thing and overall not getting anywhere.
It was decided in order to promote this further we should arrange a public meeting which we did and which was held in a large community hall at Mermaid Beach, the Albert Waterways Community Centre. The response from both the public and media was overwhelming. We had set membership at a nominal $5 and Bruce and Iris were snowed under with requests for both membership and also people around the country wanting to set up their own branches as well as untold offers of support, etc.
Unfortunately it all probably happened much too quickly and the in-fighting soon began to appear which didn’t take long to over-shadow the reason for getting together in the first place. As well as that and unbeknown to some of us at the time work was well under way behind the scenes down south with the intention of taking over PHSM and forming another political party. This was being carried out by such people as Tony Abbott, David Oldfield and David Ettridge and all with the blessing of the Liberal party in order to gain control in the Senate.
Actually Bruce had a phone call from, of all people, John Elliott advising him of exactly this. The idea was to have enough of what soon became One Nation people elected to the Senate and with David Oldfield heading the team the Liberal party would then have no trouble getting all their legislation passed.
In early February, David Ettridge arrived out of the blue from Sydney and promptly told us they (he and Oldfield) were taking over and the operation would now be run from an office at Manly on Sydney’s northern beaches. At this, Bruce told Ettridge he was a crook and con artist and was not welcome and to 'bugger off back to Sydney' Unfortunately the rest of us were either too naive or mesmerised by what was being said and did not offer Bruce much, if any, support and so our movement was hijacked and looking back that was actually the beginning of the end.
From then on we rapidly lost control of something which should have grown so strong it would have probably seen Pauline still in Parliament to this day. It was also around this time that I made what has become a memorable comment to the committee which was "that either the committee needed to catch up with Bruce or that Bruce needed to come back to the committee". This never happened and looking back I, for one, wish I had been more supportive of Bruce.
Of course another problem we encountered along the way was that Bruce and Pauline were too much alike. They were both head strong and stubborn and neither would give way to or take notice of the other and so Bruce kept pushing and Pauline kept thinking she knew best and by now being under the control of the two David’s did not help matters.
With the support movement falling apart it was very frustrating for Bruce because he could not get anyone to listen to his concerns, which we all learned too late were a lot closer to the truth than what we were being fed from the now head office in Sydney.
It was the 11th April 1997 that the One Nation party was launched at a major function held in Ipswich. At the time it all seemed very exciting with one exception as Bruce had not been invited because he was causing too much trouble according to Ettridge, even though had it not been for Bruce none of this would have happened in the first place.
Although Ettridge had taken control of all our membership records in a covert operation and some of our money, the support movement continued in some form and a month or two after the party launch there was a name change to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Supporters Inc, probably to show the illusion of there still being a support movement separate from the now formed party machine.
In February 1998 the name was again changed this time to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Members Inc. and although I have no recollection of giving permission I was and probably am still listed together with David Ettridge and Pauline Hanson as a Director of this organisation.
But I digress from what happened which was that when those behind the rise of One Nation realised their plan to control the Senate was not going to come to fruition, decided as they would not allow a third force in Australian politics to destroy One Nation and Pauline forever.
Now as a result we see ongoing court cases which in my opinion are quite simply a political witch hunt and a complete waste of public monies. However, having said that, if anyone should stand trial it should be Oldfield and Ettridge and not Pauline Hanson.
Looking back it is a crying shame to have seen Australia’s last chance go down the drain the way it has, only to be replaced nowadays by Labor voters, in particular turning to the Greens who are a very dangerous party and have nothing whatsoever to do with their name.
Lindon Litchfield –
Southport – Queensland – Australia
Saturday, 28. June 2003