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Pauline Hanson claims to represent battlers against the big end of town yet One Nation has now agreed to give preferences to dodgy Doug Shave in Alfred Cove, the Fair Trading Minister who has failed thousands of retirees in the finance broking scandal.

Jeepers, how on earth is One Nation continuing to poll so well. The One Nation candidate, who ran as independent because the party is not yet re-registered, beat the Liberal independent at the Campbelltown by-election over the weekend.

One Nation member Oscar Rosso scored a double digit result with 3552 votes, well clear of the Lib Independent who got 2671 in two-party preferred terms. This will deliver many thousands of taxpayers dollars his way, but thankfully nothing like the $5.3 million they got after the last Queensland state poll.

One Nation has demonstrated it has absolutely no scruples by granting preferences to dodgy Doug Shave in the WA election. This is the press release that independent candidate Denise Brailey has released on the issue. Denise is the brave independent campaigner on behalf of retirees who have lost tens of million of dollars in dodgy finance broking schemes. She’s running against Fair Trading Minister Doug Shave who has fiddled while Rome burns on this one.

PRESS RELEASE FROM DENISE BRAILEY

One Nation supporters would have to be shocked that their party is set to give preferences to Doug Shave in Alfred Cove. The One Nation deal to get Mr Shave back into power was a slap in the face to all those who had lost money in the finance brokers scandal. Most of the people who have lost money are not major investors who would hardly notice the loss. Many of the thirty retirees, who have died, suffered from illness related to heart problems brought on by stress. Their loved ones are left to cope as best they can. The most recent bereavement was only four weeks ago.

As a community, one would expect that we all have compassion for those caught up in this dreadful calamity. One Nation’s claim to fight for the battlers against the big end of town is in tatters as a result of their decision. I would have thought that Pauline Hanson would line up with those who had lost money as a result of finance broking fraud, not with the finance brokers who committed the fraud and with the Minister who looked the other way, and let them get away with it for so many years.

Certainly one of the One Nation prime movers in WA has left the party recently amid claims the Minister Doug Shave and John Fischer have had several discussions over lunch during the past few months. I met with Pauline at her request over nine months ago. She stated she wished to help the retirees and apart from Senator Hill raising the issue one year ago, One Nation did not bother to recontact me. Was this an excuse to use taxpayer funds to fly Pauline over here? Fischer asked me to join One Nation, I declined. I told him at that stage I had no thoughts on entering Parliament. Something was definitely wrong with the entire approach. Supporters in Alfred Cove would expect One Nation to support my efforts, given the initial approach.

I do know that the One Nation candidate in Alfred Cove was a Fair Trading investigator. The questions need to be asked: “Why does One Nation brochure’s (for Alfred Cove) state “finance brokers” as an issue?” And: “Does the One Nation candidate have links with the Minister for Fair Trading, Doug Shave, or has One Nation done a deal with Mr Shave for his support in key contests in the future?”

Either way, ‘One Nation’ would have sold out those who have suffered fraudulent criminal behaviour by the finance brokers, in favour of the brokers themselves and their politically connected mates.

Denise Brailey – Finance Brokers Campaigner

“Truly Independent.” Candidate for Alfred Cove

ends

The Courier Mail’s Rory Callinan had an interesting yarn on One Nation backing a couple of pot growers. This is it.

Hanson backs ex-pot grower

ONE Nation leader Pauline Hanson is maintaining support for a candidate jailed for growing marijuana in the ’70s, despite last week sacking another candidate charged with possessing marijuana three years ago.

David John Westley Drinan, who is standing for the seat of Cunningham about 130km west of Brisbane, last week confirmed he was jailed for 18 months for growing “a few plants years ago”.

“It was in the Hunter Valley on my old man’s place. I grew a bit. And you can go ahead and put that on your front page,” Mr Drinan, 57, said.

Ms Hanson said she was aware of Mr Drinan’s conviction and stood by him, but said she did not know he had been jailed.

“He was upfront about (the conviction). He told me it was 30 years ago. I didn’t know about the jail term,” she said.

Ms Hanson said One Nation did not have a policy on marijuana but said personally she did not want to see it available on the streets.

She sacked Lockyer West candidate Angela Micallef after she admitted being found guilty of marijuana possession three years ago.

Ms Micallef said she used marijuana for medical reasons and no conviction was recorded.

Ms Hanson said Ms Micallef’s admissions about marijuana were just one of the reasons for the sacking.

Mr Drinan, a professional cropduster, said he had never smoked marijuana.

“I wasn’t interested,” he said. “It was 30 years ago and it was just a silly thing to do at the time and I have paid my penalty for it many times over. It’s been a serious impediment.”

He said he could not recall how many plants were involved, the exact charge or the exact date of the incident although he thought it might have been 1971.

Mr Drinan said he did not support jail sentences for marijuana users.

Drug production penalties were dramatically increased by the Bjelke-Petersen government in the late ’70s and today the charge can attract a maximum penalty of 25 years.

Yesterday Ms Micallef said Ms Hanson was hypocritical.

“I was chewed up and spat out in a really big way and the only thing I had done was to be honest. I told them but they disendorsed me.”

Lastly, let’s take a look at Hillary’s latest column on dodgy Doug Shave who we all hope will get knocked off by Denise Brailey.

Son setting in the West? By Hillary Bray

Crikey’s Liberal Insider

Published Jan 23, 2000

Hillary is filing this week from Steve’s Hotel Nedlands, just by the University of Western Australia, where a chunder stain from Bob Hawke’s student days has been lovingly preserved on the floor of the front bar. Blanche d’Alpuget is said to have wept the first time she visited this site.

Hillary hears that both Labor and Liberal internal polling should have Premier Rich the Runt rattled – but Geoff Gallop still needs a hell of a lot of seats to become premier.

Dishing it up in Dullsville

It’s all happening here in Perth. The Worst’s “Dullsville” headline is but a distant memory. Have a look at this piece by Matt Price that appeared in the WA edition of the Oz on Wednesday:

“Perth has acquired a reputation as Dullsville in recent months, but life under a Gallop government should be anything but tedious if Liberal Party propaganda is to be believed.

A “futuristic postcard” being distributed by Liberal backbencher Chris Baker, says that by 2002 West Australians will be tending to their cannabis plants, selling heroin in shopping centres and prostituting themselves on the streets under policies introduced by the new government. That’s when they’re not being encouraged by Labor to have sex with boys and experiment on human embryos.

Mr Baker’s imaginative portrayal of life under Labor has been distributed to every household in his marginal seat of Joondalup.

While the conservative backbencher described it as “a creative way of drawing attention to Labor’s policies”, Mr Baker’s opponents cried foul.

“It’s a pack of lies and the worst form of politics,” Labor drug policy spokesman Alan Carpenter said. “This bloke’s not fit to be sitting in parliament, he’s a disgrace.”

Mr Baker insisted his 2002 scenario was “possible” under a Labor government. He said he understood ALP policy supported the legalisation of marijuana, allowing five plants per person to be grown. In fact, cannabis use remains illegal under Labor policy, although the offence for any household caught with two plants or less would attract an initial warning, followed by fines.

The Court Government has already pioneered cannabis decriminalisation in Western Australia, where small-time users can attend a lecture to escape conviction.

Labor is also committed to calling a drug summit after the election, which Mr Baker said was a “front” for introducing radical drug policies, including heroin-injection rules. Mr Carpenter admitted a strictly controlled heroin trial was a possibility under Labor, if approved by the summit.

Mr Baker’s IVF claims are based on support for law reform in Western Australia, a move supported by many Coalition MPs.

Labor is also committed to removing discrimination against male homosexuals, and lowering the age of consent from 18 to 16 as applies to females.

Claims by Mr Baker that a Labor government would overturn the state’s mandatory sentencing laws ignore Dr Gallop’s success in winning approval of Western Australia’s laws at last year’s ALP national conference.

Mr Baker said Labor was seeking to disguise its policies to win the February 10 poll. “People should appreciate the social risk if they elect a Labor government,” he said.

ends

Jesus! He makes Doug Shave look like a pillar of propriety. Talking of whom

Dodgy Doug

Police Minister Kevin Prince offered last August to resign when his links to collapsed Albany finance broker Leon Jamieson were revealed. Back in 1982, when a lawyer, Prince had represented Jamieson in a criminal matter and may have referred clients to him over the years.

Jamieson ceased broking in July and was declared bankrupt the following month, putting some $1 million at risk, including $35,000 from an estate of which Mr Prince was a trustee.

Rich the Runt rejected Prince’s resignation – the closest the any WA Minister has come to taking responsibility for the finance brokers scandal. No-one was surprised. Rich’s brother, Ken Court, has been linked to a series of mortgage deals that turned sour. Other senior Liberals also have links to the finance-broking industry.

Best of all, has been the performance of Fair Trading Minister Doug Shave – the bloke supposed to be running the show. Doug helped his former father-in-law secure a payout from a broker in financial trouble – but has done bugger all for the other poor sods who have lost money.

Over 7,000 investors, mainly self funded retirees, a key Liberal demographic, have seen their nest eggs vanish. People in their sixties and seventies have gone back to work. Others have been forced on to the age pension.

In most cases, the problems are the same – an inability to recover capital, investment by brokers in unsaleable properties in overcapitalised areas and an inability to recoup income. For the unlucky victims of bodgie brokers, there is no way of knowing the outcome, nor the length of time it will all take. The uncertainty is a killer. No-one deserves this treatment, but for authorities and governments to ignore the older generation in such a manner to save their own political hides turns a scandal into an outrage.

John Urquhart, chair of the supposed watchdog, the Finance Brokers Supervisory Board, quit last year and told Shave to do the same – but Doug’s dug in, despite all the evidence that’s mounted against him during the Gunning Inquiry into the scandal.

Gunning for Dodgy Doug

One of the first statements to Ivan Gunning came from a former member of the Supervisory Board who claimed he told Doug of the need to give it greater powers at a meeting in 1997 – a year before significant problems emerged.

The current registrar of the Finance Brokers Supervisory Board, Susan Nulsen, refused to hand over controversial legal advice relating to the Government’s handling of the finance broking scandal following a directive from Doug not to supply the legal opinions.

You get the drift. In short, the inquiry uncovered firm independent evidence that Dodgy Doug presided over a massive failure in the regulation of the finance broking industry. But there was more to come.

Widespread support

In December, an Upper House inquiry into the finance brokers scandal reported. Once again, it’s simplest just to quote the Oz. Here’s what Colleen Egan had to say:

Court stung by own MPs

Two of his own MPs dealt West Australian Premier Richard Court a heavy blow yesterday, with a stinging parliamentary report recommending a full-scale inquiry into the finance broking scandal.

The unanimous report from five upper house backbenchers — two Labor, two Liberal and one Democrat — also recommended the Government “genuinely seek to reach agreement over compensation and assistance” to the thousands of investors who lost their life savings.

The report is in direct conflict with the repeated position of Mr Court and Fair Trading Minister Doug Shave, who have argued that the Gunning inquiry, which reported last September, was sufficient to investigate the scandal.

Mr Court has also said that the Government should not offer any compensation to investors, who claim that inaction by the Ministry of Fair Trading led to their losses. Mr Court and Mr Shave were unavailable for comment yesterday.

The two Liberal MPs, Ray Halligan and Greg Smith, dissented on only one recommendation in the report — that the new inquiry should not take the form of a royal commission, but a reconstituted and expanded Gunning inquiry.

They agreed that the inquiry should examine what they believed was collusion between finance brokers, borrowers, valuers, lawyers, auditors and their associates.

It should also consider whether the savings of self-funded retirees could fall into similar unscrupulous hands and whether government should tighten regulations in similar industries.

ends

Wow! Doug, of course, has met with widespread support from his Coalition colleagues. Rich the Runt has been hard pressed to keep a lid on party room dissent and demands from his own backbench for Doug to resign or be sacked.

Back in September, Liberal backbencher, Bob Bloffwitch, said there were about 12 MPs who thought Doug should resign. A second Liberal MP, Derrick Tomlinson, said Mr Shave should have quit when the Gunning inquiry brought down its finding.

Tomlinson claimed the finance brokers scandal and Doug’s refusal to resign was “the number one talking point” in the electorate – adding “I think it makes it that much more difficult for the Government to retain government”.

Disgruntled Libs planned to put a no-confidence motion to a party meeting, but were blocked by a conveniently full agenda which did not allow any time for the matter to be discussed.

The most succinct comment, however, may have come from WA National Party President Ric Beattie. Beattie said it like it is, stating investors hurt by the finance broking scandal were part of the Government’s constituency and that “A lot of our people are starting to say Doug Shave is going to have to pay the price for what has happened.”

And now it’s election time.

Dodgy Doug’s cunning stunt

In a smart tactical move, Labor isn’t running in Doug’s seat of Alfred Bay. Instead, he faces s bevy of high profile independents, Liberal dissidents and minor parties. Preference flow will be vital – and that’s why Doug seemed so excited when he welcomed the nomination of independent John Grayden at the last moment.

Doug has suggested Grayden will be placed second on his how-to-vote card, ahead of other more high profile candidates and says Grayden is a genuine Liberal Independent, unlike the Liberals for Forests, which he claims do not represent the views of the party.

There’s also the fact the John-Boy is the son of a member of Court Senior’s Government, Bill Grayden – plus the rumour that Doug was desperate for anyone to run as a funnel for preference and that lad John was the only person in town willing to risk their reputation by being associated with the dodgy one.

Still, Rich the Runt has sent out a letter to every household in Alfred Bay saying what a wonderful bloke dear Doug is – so that’s all OK, then.

Independents’ day

No independent has been elected to the lower house of WA Parliament – Liz Constable, Phillip Pendall, Ernie Bridge and Larry Graham were all originally elected as members from the major parties – but this could change on February 10.

Fashion designer Liz Davenport is running against Rich in his seat of Nedlands as a Liberals for Forests candidate, Graham Kierath is under challenge in his seat of Rivervale from a spartacist nurse, still smarting over his time as Labour Relations Minister, but Alfred Cove is where the action is.

The biggest name up against the Minister for Denying Dodgy Dealing is Denise Brailey, who has ruthlessly pursued Shave over the finance brokers scandal. The Finance Brokers Supervisory Board started to hear allegations against Albany firm Leon K Jamieson and Associates on Friday, adding more fuel to a burning issue.

City of Melville councillor Pam Neesham has formally nominated to contest the seat, along with John-Boy Grayden, Liberals for Forests will field a candidate, along with the Greens, One Nation, the Dems and Fred Nile’s Bible-bashers, the Christian Democrats.

Doug has drawn the number one spot on the ticket, so at least he’s guaranteed to get the donkey vote. There’s been some talk that Neesham might preference Doug, along with John-Boy and, given Shave’s own comments that One Nation could pick up three seats, speculation that rednecks who can count to two will preference Dodgy Doug.

However, a fascinating bit of trivia comes in here. The One Nation candidate Terry Corbett was an investigator for Fair Trading who gave extensive – and compelling – evidence at the Gunning Inquiry that files were being buried at the Ministry.

Interesting times lie ahead.

Irony, irony

WA’s Commissioner of Fair Trading, Patrick Walker, told ABC Radio listeners in Perth last week about how he was keeping an eye on fuel prices. Pat so rightly said “the greatest gift you can give consumers is information about the market place.”

Well said, Pat – but there were never any consumer warnings to self funded retirees – now pensioners – about the risk of defaulting loans when they handed over their life’s savings to dodgy finance brokers.

Still, it’s very important that warnings are issued on such sensitive matters as petrol prices in the middle of an election campaign, isn’t it. Information, as you say, is a gift.

Right to know

Rich the Runt also knows how important information is. Right at the beginning of the campaign he was on the ABC too, saying “The people of WES-tern Australia have a right to know what happened.”

Trouble is, he was talking about WA Inc deals that took place more than a decade ago. If you ask him about brother Ken and his offsider Ross Fisher and the “pooled mortgage investments” they were flogging in the early 90s, then it’s an entirely different matter.

ends

If you enjoyed that, check out Hillary’s earlier article on the WA election and a further examination of political donations in WA.

Crikey’s first election

It’s Crikey’s first election and Hillary is reporting from the spot, perched with a laptop on the rocks at Rotto watching the quokkas frolic in the West’s bright sun. And without any more ado, on with the show.

State of Excitement (not)

After hanging on to office long enough to pass his father Sir Charles Court’s length of term in office, family runt Richard has finally announced his big date with the people on 10 February.

Having announced the date several days earlier than he had to, wasn’t it an interesting coincidence it occurred on a day when the Bulletin spent four pages trying to bring the delights of the Queensland electoral rorts saga to Western Australia.

But anyway, back to Rich the Runt. Rich inherited two things from his father. One is the peculiar pronunciation of his state as WES-tern Australia. The other is the family motto of “I blame Canberra”. To this, the Runt has added another motto, “I blame Brian Burke/Peter Dowding/Carmen Lawrence/anyone who ever had anything to do with a Labor government”.

Which is where young Rich has a few problems. It’s eight years since Dr Feelgood was defeated, and now five years since Emperor Paul departed. He is having to stand on his own record, and it appears the electorate is a little underwhelmed.

The Runt spent last year deploring Canberra for all these illegal migrants arriving in the West not surprising from a Premier who said Paul Keating could only visit the state if he went through the formal channels. One wonders what Rich would have actually done with those boat people if for some reason the West had had control over the defence forces.

Anyway, Hillary digresses there. With the result depending on a string of outer suburban and regional seats, the pork barrel is out. Already it appears the government is promising that no pensioner in Bunbury will ever have to pay a bus fare again (two marginal seats there you see), and the government is happy to piss the proceeds of the Alinta Gas sale up against the wall for a railway to Mandurah (another two marginals there).

Whatever you say, Hendy

With the government certain to lose seats even though it will probably retain office the the power of National Party leader and Deputy Premier Hendy Cowan is likely to be increased.

Hendy is a big bloke. He played more than 300 games for Narembeen Football Club, and his approach to politics sometimes looks like the approach of a big bloke to football. The shortest distance to the ball is always in a straight line and if there is someone smaller between you and the ball, well, that’s their problem.

No one suggests that Hendy terrifies Rich the Runt, but there are not many people in Cabinet who ever willingly want to pick a fight with the Merredin Mauler. But don’t ever think he’s you’re old-fashioned redneck. On several occasions Rich has hinted at holding a death penalty referendum in conjunction with a state election, and it was Cowan that helped stamp the idea out. The WA National Party is a bit different than in the other states, having a rather green tinge. They started the Coalition backdown to protect the old growth forests in last year’s forests dispute with Wilson Tuckey.

For some reason, Tuckey seems to hate the National Party. Odd given he ran for them as a candidate in 1974. (For some reason they formed an alliance with the DLP that year and called themselves National Alliance. Poor choice of name.)

Hillary in fact thinks it would be good sport to lock Hendy Cowan and Wilson Tuckey in a room and see who survives. You could sell tickets to watch. It would be more entertaining than most Fremantle Dockers matches, anyway.

Labor’s woes in Pilbara

In the last decade, Labor has struck a few problems in its traditional mining heartland. Some have been simple demographic change. Less and less mining towns are being built, with the growth of fly-in fly-out operations. The folk who live in mining towns are more likely to be on individual contracts, and Labor’s old strength built on union solidarity has diminished.

Back in 96, when Graeme Campbell slagged off multiculturalism one too many times, Paul Keating kicked him out of the party. The Labor Party has been undergoing splits in the Federal electorate of Kalgoorlie ever since. The current state parliament ends with one lower house and two upper house Labor MPs from the area sitting on the cross benches.

The old blue collar but in reality small business mining sector has got mightily pissed off that Labor seemed to be worrying about Aborigines, and the conditions of the strippers and prostitutes in Kalgoorlie. What a hide! Don’t the Labor Party understand blokes have rights too?

Anyway, the Labor Party have picked a few too many female candidates for the blokes liking. One, female lawyer Megan Anwyl, should hold on to her seat in Kalgoorlie, but the Liberals are sniffing about. But up in Pilbara, the Labor Party disendorsed Larry Graham, the son of a former Labor Deputy-Premier, in favour of a female drug and alcohol counsellor, Jacki Ormsby.

Graham hasn’t taken it lying down and is now running as an independent. Former Labor Leader Ian “I love Brian Burke” Taylor has let his party membership lapse to campaign for Graham, and a Morgan poll last year indicated he will win the seat.

Still, new Labor candidate Ormsby is off and running. But choosing to sponsor a local horse race did not have the required effect. Rather than attract publicity, the Jacki Ormsby ALP Handicap rather highlighted the problem she has created for the party.

King Canute and the Kimberley

Hillary can’t quite remember the full story of King Canute, but it had something to do with tides, hence the link with Kimberley. At first this tale sounds obscure, but if the election is as close as some pundits are suggesting, then the whole fate of government could rest on the result in Kimberley.

Kimberley has been held since 1980 by the state’s only Aboriginal MP, Ernie Bridge. He had to fight long and hard to originally become an MP, the Court (the elder) government even changing the law in the 1970s to make it harder for blackfellas to vote in an attempt to prevent Labor winning the seat.

Bridge, as well as being an accomplished country and western singer (not that Hillary likes songs about trucks, dogs, the road and unfaithful wives), was a minister in the Burke, Dowding and Lawrence governments with a pet scheme to bring water from the Ord River to the state’s south-west. Even governments silly enough to spend 200 million bucks on non-existent petrochemical plants weren’t prepared to come at that pipe dream.

In fact back when Labor was desperately trying to find a replacement for “Slick Pierre” Dowding they were desperate for someone different. They passed on having the first legless Premier (Graham Edwards) and the first Aboriginal premier (Ernie Bridge) and went for the first female Premier in Dr Feelgood.

Anyway, up in the Kimberley, they are trying to do something about the local power grid. Energy Minister Colin Barnett wants to put in gas fired generators. For some reasons, the locals, backed by Wilson Tuckey and various green groups, want to build a tidal power station, to make use of the areas vast tidal range.

Now, sure it is good for the environment in terms of global warming but how many untouched inlets are going to have to be dammed for this project. Anyway, the locals want it, and in a close election, they are going to get at least part of their scheme. Hendy Cowan said to do it, and the rest of Cabinet wanting to leave the Cabinet room with all their limbs attached, agreed to the Merredin Mauler’s idea.

So what turned the National party around? Well, the answer comes from a messy Labor Party preselection last year. Ernie Bridge resigned as a Labor MP before the 1996 election, and was re-elected as an Independent, though without a Labor opponent. He is retiring at this election.

Peter Fray

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