Contributed from Victoria
One consistent attribute of One Nation is that it’s leadership has a taste for extracting money, even if it may not always cone off.
Just before the West Australia election Pauline Hanson suggested that applying candidates should pay a hefty bond that they would lose if they resigned. There have been other suggestions and actions that infer a desire to get hold of cash. Then there is the case of failing to declare the use on an airplane, which hid declaration of the value of this assistance. Do not forget that she once did prison time for an issue connected to defrauding the government.
Pauline Hanson bypassed party procedures to get rid of the treasurer and put her brother in law, Greg Smith, in charge of the money.
There is a definite pattern here.
To be fair, Hanson did give generously to the party. Then again, she can afford to. She is a multi-millionaire. Not from Selling fish and chips, but by marketing her image and One Nation. Her political career has paid her well. Of course, this was a loan that was paid back by taxpayers, given that Pauline claimed it as an expense.
Now comes the new recording of a proposal to lift the charge on candidates for election material and make false claims to get more government money by passing off these extra charges as costs.
Some diehard loyalists may dismiss this as fake news. After all, they have been conditioned to take the same line towards someone telling them, that their shoes are white instead of black. Even if they are white, they will insist that they are white, because they have been conditioned to respond in this way. These people have been been given an incredible capacity to ignore what they don’t want to see. However, they cannot hide from the truth for ever.
Pauline’s trusted advisor James Ashby always seems to be around the centre of everything. His is the voice in the recording. Some of those who have dealt with him have called him a snake and other colourful terms.
It turns out that One Nation campaign material is printed by a company owned by Ashby. Candidates already must pay $3,500 for a package. Ashby’s company charges $5.50 for each corflutes, $110 for banners and $77 for 1000 business cards, all prices above the usual. Ashby, the recording suggests, wanted more.
Observers of the One Nation organisation should not be surprised. The party was never a normal political party. It was constituted in a way that enables those at the top to have access to funds without being almost totally accountable to the membership. This has been facilitated by registering the party as a private company, which gives its appointed directors broad discretion.
None of it is an accident. One Nation exists to create an opportunity for some people to milk the system.
It runs counter to the aspirations of the party membership, who are there, because they have a belief in the cause One Nation says it pursues and the claim that it is different from the betrayal and opportunism of the traditional parties.This discrepancy explains why there is a growing band of former member critics.
One Nation as the private business, accused of being a pyramid scheme of Pauline Hanson, James Ashby and the rest of their small gang, has a lot to do with the political expediency that has made them an appendage to the Liberal Party in government. While they may have some things in common, it is the difference that gave rise to One Nation. On the other hand, the interests of the business suggest that opportunities to make deals that bring the prospect of raising more revenue are far more important than any principle.
One Nation is on a road that can only end in the final destruction of the party.