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If you want the best and most insightful analysis of One Nation’s re-emergence then you’ve come to the right place. You’ll nod your head knowlingly when you read this Hillary column.

Johnny: “Whaddya got?”

No-one’s ever compared Pauline Hanson with Marlon Brando in The Wild One, but there’s always time to start. Back in the innocent 50’s, Johnny’s reply gave Brando instant existential hero status. But read it again. In today’s harsher age, what Johnny’s really saying is “Search me, mate”.

He sounds just like the average One Nation voter. They don’t like the current political system, the political parties or their policies – but what do they stand for? Are they rebels without a cause?

That seems to be the impression from Saturday’s vote in the West, and from the preference decisions One Nation have set for the Queensland poll and are threatening for the Federal election.

One Nation doesn’t like politicians, so One Nation is putting sitting members last. It doesn’t matter what they stand for. It doesn’t matter if they work their electorates or not. They’re politicians, so they’re bad. But does that mean anything for the future.

What have the eight One Nation members elected in Queensland back in 98 done? Four have started a party of their own, three sit as independents and one, Charles Rappolt, quit then killed himself. You might say old Charlie was the only one who had any impact on the political scene. The by-election that followed his resignation gave Peter Beattie a majority in his own right and Queensland stable government – until Labor’s own rottenness caught up with it.

In other words, they’ve been irrelevant. Can anyone remember anything Senator Len Harris had ever done and said?

One Nation are a blind rage, an anger without reason or purpose. Just look at what Hanson watcher – and white trash heir – Margo Kingston had to say on Pauline’s position post the Western Australian state election:

“What she learned in 1998 was that she is a lightning rod for protest, not a purveyor of alternative policies. She has no policy answers, and her disastrous Easytax policy and plans to replace the Family Court with people’s tribunals comprised of the divorced couples’ neighbours proved the point. Her ‘policies’ turned voters away, not brought them in.

“She is now pure protest, no policy. She has learned that those attracted her believe she is asking all the right questions, but has no answers. She is anti-establishment – political, media, academic and business. People who vote for her want her to give the establishment curry and MAKE them notice Pauline’s people. .

“During the 1998 election she announced to the travelling media that she would put all sitting members last. Oldfield overruled her then, and now that he’s gone she’s returned to her anarchic instincts, designed to ensure her personal stardom. She and her people are willing to churn governments – to dump Labor or Liberal governments after one term until they get satisfaction. She said on Saturday night that people were sick of Richard Court and John Howard. She has her first scalp and is gunning for her second.”

A lightning rod. When lighting strikes, millions upon millions of volts are dispersed – but to no useful affect. The same could be said about One Nation.

One Nation is the anti party, the protest party – but it can’t go on that way. Sooner or later it has to stand for something, preference someone – and then where will it be? Will it even exist?

One Nation is not unique. It is just one of a string of protest parties – but one that was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. Pauline Hanson was an endorsed Liberal candidate when her ignorant views propelled her to national attention and enabled her to be one of the beneficiaries of the massive swing against the imperial nature of Paul Keating.

Since then, the flame of One National has been fanned by moral outrage by the self flagellants of the ABC, academe, the churches and the Fairfax media. But how different is One Nation from other parties of the lunar right that have come and gone?

In the mid eighties, the Confederate Action Party was the scourge of the same PC establishment that now attack One Nation. They got a former member elected, as an independent, in Joh’s old seat of Kingaroy. In the end he joined the Nats, became a Minister and, irony of irony, was defeated by a One Nation candidate.

One Nation is a raging storm – but, like all storms, it will blow away. When the only thing that unites a party is what it opposes, then it is doomed.

Voting One Nation is a recipe for what it’s supporters want the least – less sympathetic governments, hung parliaments, more politics, more wheeling and dealing and more elections.

One Nation will never implement it’s pseudo Mussolini corporatist philosophies, clean the streets and get the trains to run on time. It will fall apart long before.

One Nation stands for nothing but jealousy and envy. The vein of discontent it taps will stay out there – just like it always has been – and the supporters of anti-politics politicians will continued to be conned by a whole new range of snake oil salesmen who come along, and become bitterer and bitterer and bitterer until one day they might just realise just who’s conning who.

So don’t hate them. Fight them, yes – fight them like hell – but pity them.

ends

Now, this is Hillary’s previous column.

MPs offered bribe

Last year John Faulkner, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, was kind enough to put a few words about your columnist on the Parliamentary record.

Hillary, according to Faulkner, “does appear from time to time to be quite well informed about certain matters”. It was hardly a ringing endorsement, but what the hell. Crikey had only been up and running for a couple of months.

Now that we’re much better known – and with Parliament resuming this week – Hillary would like to invite all our Federal pols to participate in the Crikey Cash for Comment scandal.

Members, Senators – here’s how it works. All our you need to do is cite Crikey in the Chambers or a committee, e-mail through the relevant Hansard extract and we’ll give you a free subscription – leaving you with a spare 55 bucks in your pocket.

Your staff will love you.

Credit where credit is due

Buddhist bodgie Lee Bermingham detailed some fascinating Labor fundraising techniques when he appeared before Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters earlier this week.

However, he may have been unfair attributing them to up and coming Victorian Senator Steve Conroy. There are claims of subterranean rumblings around Melbourne that suggest that the true pioneer of these interesting ways of raising the readies was a certain local National Union of Workers organiser – current ALP National President Greg Sword.

The playboy of the Westin world

Readers may recall the case of a young Victorian MP reported in Hillary last September who, after a do at Macquarie Bank with Lachlan Murdoch, changed into black jeans and a muscle top and successfully set out to charm the ladies in the uber-yuppie cocktail bar of Sydney’s Westin Hotel – and wouldn’t shut up about it the next day.

Since then, the lad has put in a bravura performance at Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival, where he kissed/harassed/propositioned almost every woman in the Members Enclosure and established once and for all that he is a very ugly drunk.

Our hero is no stranger to controversy. Back in 1999 – long before it was fashionable – issues were raised over his electoral enrolment and actual address.

Now, he is frozen with fear at the idea that a journo may have enough dirt on him to ruin his career. Wherever would he get that idea from?

Redneck in drag?

Tamara Tonite is not the only cross dresser running in the seat of Brisbane Central. Sitting member Peter Beattie might be a mild mannered media tart by day – but he’s also secretly been putting on One Nation clobber.

Under Queensland’s electoral laws, voters only need to fill in one box on the ballot paper – and B1 has declared that Labor will not allocate preferences.

If this had happened in 98, One Nation could have won up to four more seats. At this election, Beattie’s move may save as many as six of the former One Nation members.

The non-Labor vote in Queensland is already hopelessly split, and this will be another triumph for B1. He has already managed to turn his party’s rorting and corruption into a plus – and by not passing preferences Beattie is no longer putting One Nation last on his how-to-vote card while still making preferencing an issue for the Coalition.

Site for sore eyes

Sick of politics? Then have a look at B1’s own web site – www.beattie2001.net – and see if you can find any mention of policy of the ALP.

While you’re online, also have a look at the home page of Queensland candidate and stripper Jody Moore – http://littlejodycom.ozhosting.com/Frontdoor/Jody/jody.html. In what Hillary believes is a first for Australian politics, she offers visitors nude photos of herself.

How soon will it be before other MPs take up this innovation? Will we soon learn if more than the beard went when David Kemp started shaving?

Good company

Hillary is harsh on the new Minister for Workplace Relations, the Mad Monk – but has to admit that he’s a great judge of character.

The Monk employed David Oldfield, wrote a glowing reference for him, let him run up heaps of bills to phone sex lines on a departmental mobile and didn’t notice as he ran round the country on the public tab and spent much of his time in the office organising for One Nation before he finally jumped ship.

Now, another mate of the Monk’s has also come to prominence. One Ian Hartley MacDonald, twice his campaign manager and a struck off solicitor, appeared in Sydney’s Central Local Court last week on 10 counts of obtaining money by deception, making false statements and fraudulently omitting to properly account for clients’ money, with seven further charges to be heard in April.

Who’s next?

Court’s rorts

How the hell is Rich the Runt being allowed by the national media to get away with his outrageous gerrymander. The Queensland Nats were rightly vilified for years over their boundary rigging, but the Western Australian electoral malapportionment seems to only warrant a cursory mention in reports on the campaign.

The basis for WA divisions is set out in section 6 of the Electoral Distribution Act which reads as follows:

6 (1) The Commissioners shall –

1. divide the Metropolitan Area into 34 districts; and

2. divide the area comprising the remainder of the State into 23 districts.

(2) The Commissioners shall make the division of an area mentioned in subsection (1) (a) or (b) into districts in accordance with the principle that the number of enrolled electors comprised in any district in the area must not be more than 15% greater, or more than 15% less, than the quotient obtained by dividing the total number of enrolled electors in the area by the number of districts into which the area is to be divided.

What was the result. Hillary’s running off 1994 figures, but then the total state enrolment was 1,034,006, the metropolitan area enrolment 760,595 and the country enrolment 273,411

Let’s do some quick sums. Divide the metropolitan quotient by 34 and you come up with an average 22,370 voters per electorate. Divide the country figure by 23 and you get only 11,887.

That’s up there with Playford.

And now the fun really begins

The Ryan preselection is over. Bodies litter the bloodstained ground and Bonita Chan wasted her weekend, and no one is more surprised at the outcome than winner Bob Tucker.

Hillary understands that the Michael Johnson dual nationality bombshell proves that John Moore’s office spent their last days productively. And despite bringing so many new members to the party, Johnson was never a favourite of Queensland Liberal state director Graham Jaeschke – which may have been reflected in his comment “he should be a bit embarrassed because this is an issue as a barrister he should have been aware of”.

But now the fun really begins.

Eight hundred and fifty one delegates were eligible to vote in the Ryan preselection. The final score – 216 to 172, a grand total of 388 – suggests that a hell of a lot of potential foot soldiers for the by-election ain’t interested no more. This has been the bitterest Liberal preselection campaign since the old wets were rolled in Victoria in the late eighties. The local party is deeply divided.

John Moore won Ryan on primary votes in 1998 and the two party preferred result gave him 59.52 per cent to Labor’s 40.48 – but the Liberal Party has a good chance of losing the seat. By-elections are notoriously unpredictable. Federal director Lynton Crosby is said to be very worried, and his deputy John Burston will be on the ground for the entire campaign. This weekend’s Newspoll on Queensland voting intentions must have them terrified.

Money is also looming as a problem. There won’t be much left after the state campaign – and the current woeful performance of the Queensland Libs won’t endear them to donors. Presumably the feds will have to help.

Tucker’s win will add to the doubts building over the future of Queensland right powerbroker Santo Santoro. His candidate, Matt Boland, went down by a big enough margin. Within minutes of the result coming through, questions were already being raised over Santo’s strategy and influence. He’s already facing an uphill battle in his seat of Clayfield. He will now have to fight to keep the loyalty of his minions.

PS Wayne Smith of the Courier-Mail, you talk crap. Wayne wrote on Saturday “The Courier-Mail yesterday revealed at least one party member who is not an Australian citizen, Hong Kong solicitor Bonita Chan, intends to fly to Brisbane to cast her vote in the pre-selection.” Crikey subscribers knew that Tuesday.

Berk’s backyard

Not only did the voters of Bennelong support a republic, but even the Prime Miniature’s own branch members are showing signs of free thinking.

The moderates – led by Alda Abraham – had a big win last week when the electorate committee voted for delegates to the upcoming – and fiercely fought – New South Wales Liberal Senate preselection.

Not of his own volition

Crikey subscribers learnt last week – well ahead of others – that a third member of Mal Brough’s staff had been engaged in curious activities with the electoral roll.

Still, Mal tried bravely to stick the scandal out and get sworn in on Tuesday. Hillary gathers the decision for him not to take up a portfolio was made for him – by the PM.

To make matters worse for him, Mal took time out earlier in the week to show some mates the nice new office that had been set up for him in Brisbane’s CPO. Will he ever get to use it?

Shite writer

Hillary must defend Mal from a moron at AAP. In a piece on Wednesday headed “Brough resignation highlights need for reform: Lawrence” a journo described him as a “senior government frontbencher”. What sloppy crap!

Brough was a Parliamentary Secretary – a middlebencher, to coin a phrase. He was about to take up membership of the outer Ministry, not Cabinet. He has only been a MP since 1996. In no way could he be described as a “senior frontbencher”. Presumably the author lifted the line straight from Dr Feelgood’s press release.

There’s no by-line on the item, but AAP journos and subs are identified by initials at the bottom of their pieces. The offender appears to be one RFT. So, RFT, whoever you may be, you’re lazy.

Nothing personal

Just to show that there’s nothing personal between Hillary and AAP – despite the smarmy e-mail Canberra bureau chief James Grubel sent when he “broke” a story 10 days after Hillary – their New South Wales political correspondent Jane Wardell deserves acclaim for playing it straight in her wonderful piece on the appearance of Kacky Jelly’s former press sec, Nick Berman, before the Federal electoral rorts inquiry. Have a read:

SYDNEY, Jan 30 AAP – A former staffer of federal MP Jackie Kelly has blamed his controversial 1998 electoral enrolment on the stresses of working for a politician, separation from his girlfriend, a hefty university timetable and the expansion of the M4.

Nicholas Berman today told a federal inquiry into electoral rorts that he had done no wrong by registering himself for the October 1998 election as living at Ms Kelly’s house in the federal seat of Lindsay.

Mr Berman said the unusual circumstance had come about as he tried to grapple with the compromise of living with his girlfriend, who worked in Sydney’s CBD, and commitments to his job and university studies which were both in Western Sydney.

“To work as a political staffer … is a very challenging lifestyle. One must be prepared to live out of suitcases for lengthy periods and be away from family,” Mr Berman told the Standing Committee on Electoral Matters.

“Many politicians can be demanding, very demanding.

“They are obsessed with their political welfare and frequently placed us in the position of having to work extraordinary hours.”

Those demands placed Mr Berman in a difficult position when he got the job in Ms Kelly’s office in December 1996 while he was living at home with his parents in West Lindfield where he was enrolled in the Bradfield electorate.

Mr Berman and his girlfriend, now his wife, moved to Summer Hill in January 1997 under a deal where she was close to the CBD and he could commute by car to Penrith as he worked on Ms Kelly’s campaign to retain the seat of Lindsay.

The arrangement did not last long and Mr Berman blamed its demise on the work which began to widen the M4 in early 1997.

“My travel time blew out from between 45 to 60 minutes up to two hours,” he told the inquiry.

“I was exhausted by the travel.

“It rapidly became obvious to me that I couldn’t keep this up.”

Mr Berman said he then tried to find somewhere in Parramatta to live with his girlfriend but could not find anywhere appropriate.

That was when Ms Kelly stepped in with an offer he could not refuse, giving him a room in her house in Lapstone in the Blue Mountains.

Mr Berman moved in and immediately changed his electoral enrolment to that address, in the Lindsay electorate.

And despite his wife eventually finding a flat in Parramatta, Mr Berman transferred his electorate address to that of Ms Kelly’s new house in Penrith when she moved there in May 1998.

“I regret to say that my life was focused in Penrith rather than Parramatta with my wife,” he said.

“I lived some of the time in Ms Kelly’s home in Penrith, some of the time in hotels … and sometimes I even slept in the office.”

Mr Berman, who has since left Ms Kelly’s office and lives with his wife in Normanhurst, denied either he or the MP had done anything wrong.

ends

Nick now styles himself as a big swinging dick of the Sydney PR scene. Bet the political clients will really be queuing up after his comments on MPs – and that his old boss is grateful.

Faded star

Porn star lookalike Ros Reines has received a dressing down from James Packer? We all knew he was thick, but this makes even young Lachlan look gifted and talented.

Nowadays, her column consists largely of PR fluff, and Hillary hears that Ros has ratted on so many of her contacts that the only sources she has left are a pair of old bats she lunches with daily in Double Bay. Why would she worry anyone?

(Editor’s note: Sorry Ros, my deal with Hillary explicitly states that I cannot change her copy. I know you hold me “personally responsible for everything that appears on Crikey” but I’d lose Hillary if she was censored and there is no Crikey without Hillary.)

Media botch

The Packers shouldn’t be complaining. Thanks to stupid media buying by the Federal Government, the cash keeps coming in.

The Tax Office ran ads all through Friday’s one-day match telling small business telling them to get their BAS in by 4 February. It was a day/night game but the ads kept coming even once post offices were closed – and anyway, the ATO would not receive the mail on Sunday 4 February.

So why did the tax office pay for all the expensive ads at a time when they provided no useful information?

No wonder Big Kez likes this government.

Gone batty

Sunday isn’t Sunday without the Sunday Telegraph. Not only do readers get the porn star’s column, but they can also enjoy Leo Schofield’s hissy fits.

Leo is regularly appointed artistic director of various festivals – to stop him bagging them, so rivals claim (although it’s unlikely this will continue after the debacle that was the Olympic Arts Festival) – and throws a tanty on the back page of the Smelly every week.

A fortnight ago he raged at the priced being charged by Deluca’s florist on Darlinghurst Road for something called a bat plant. Leo was been able to find one for much less in Queensland. Hillary wonders what the hell do you expect if you go to poncy plant shops in the inner city, but digresses.

Crikey’s Darlinghurst correspondent now reports that Deluca’s have taken great delight in the coverage, and have a detailed explanation in their window telling how the plant they had for sale was a rare white bat plant, tacca integrifolia, while Leo’s Brizzie bargain was the common black bat plant, tacca chartrioria.

Surely someone so cultured should know the difference?

Election sweepstakes

Time is running out to enter Hillary’s election sweepstakes for WA. All you have to do is send in your estimate of how the seats will fall at the election to [email protected] by Friday February 9 and the closest entry will win a subscription to Crikey. Another sub is on offer for Queensland poll predictions, with these due the following Friday.

The first contestant to take the challenge offered these brave predictions:

Western Australia

Hang Criminals from 10 Foot Poles Party – 17

Hang Criminals from 20 Foot Poles party – 26

Look After Siblings Party – 10

Independence from Canberra Parasites Party – 4

Queensland

Assorted Monster Raving Loony Parties – 89

Hillary is concerned that the last line blackens the memory of Screaming Lord Sutch – and going by Ken Court’s record of political successes the prediction for the Look After Siblings Party seems a little optimistic. Nonetheless, a brave effort – and a free sub is headed their way.

Order! Order!

Alan Ramsey and other bores who drone on about Parliamentary standards might like to take a quick look at this item that appeared in the London Daily Torygraph last week:

“A member of the Turkish parliament dropped dead after being involved in a vicious fist fight on the floor of the debating chamber.

“Fevzi Sihanlioglu, 55, the scion of a powerful Kurdish tribe from Urfa province, in the south-east, was pronounced dead from a heart attack soon after sustaining head injuries during a fight with fellow MPs”

Hillary would also like to point to the state assembly of Uttar Pradesh in northern India. Since 1997 all chairs and moveable objects there have been nailed down to prevent a repeat of a violent outburst when legislators threw anything they could lay their hands on at one another. No heavy items, such as paperweights, are allowed in the chamber and microphones are firmly screwed down.

Hillary Bray can be contacted at [email protected]

Peter Fray

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