A former One Nation candidate has received invoices in July for membership fees paid in January that were backdated to December 2016. A bewildered Sandy Baraiolo received two invoices from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation on July 13 after five months of chasing the party for a record of the transaction.

She joined One Nation in January 2017 in order to be able to run for the party in the Western Australian election, held on March 11.

Automated e-mails sent from the party on July 13 this year state that the invoices were for two amounts — a membership fee of $45 and a donation to the party of $55 — and that the “amount outstanding of $AUD 0.00 is due on 31 Dec 2016”. Baraiolo paid $100 on January 11 to a PHON bank account in full.

Baraiolo wrote to the party of her concern about PHON’s provision of receipts that did not, in her view, align with her banking records to Greg Smith, the party treasurer and party agent responsible for co-ordinating candidate claims for public funding.

“I find it incredibly amusing and perplexing that you have now given me receipts/invoices, what’s more curious is they have been BACDATED (sic) to the 31st December 2016?,” Baraiolo wrote. “Very strange when I had no thoughts on the party at that time, nor any contact with the party and or any member of the party. I paid $100 as requested by QLD PHON, on the 11th January 2017 by direct bank deposit.”

Baraiolo disputes that she authorised a $55 donation to be paid to the party as a donation. A One Nation membership for an adult is $45 inclusive of GST.

“I will tell this to whoever asks me I would not ever give the party a donation, what’s more bizarre I have been asking for receipts since the 12th February 2017 and all email’s have been ignored, I even asked you for receipts and received none until yesterday,” Baraiolo said.

While Smith responded to other matters relevant to public funding issues arising from her running in the Western Australian state election in a subsequent email, he did not respond to the concern raised by Baraiolo related to the timing and date of the receipts.

Baraiolo’s personal trials with One Nation began during the campaign, when she set up a campaign page for herself on Facebook. She says a campaign team member gave her approval to go ahead to do this, but the party later commandeered this page, revoking Baraiolo’s administrator privileges. Baraiolo took exception to this behaviour and emailed party officials to say so. This molehill became enough of a mountain that eventually Pauline Hanson got involved.

Baraiolo was later dumped as a candidate after she criticised the One Nation-Liberal Party preference swap deal in WA. She then ran as an independent candidate but also had unfinished business with PHON. Baraiolo began to send many emails requesting, among other things, her membership number. No confirmation of paid membership was sent to her when she paid $100 back in January, and Baraiolo did not receive any communication that contained her membership number in the month that followed.

This was a curious situation for Baraiolo because she was selected to run as a candidate for One Nation without having documentary proof of her membership. While the party may have been able to retrieve her membership number from its systems, if the candidate list had been interrogated by electoral authorities, there was no way that Baraiolo could present proof of her membership to One Nation.

Little did she know, One Nation would eventually satisfy her demands for further information: they eventually informed Baraiolo of her membership number but that came to her in a letter telling the feisty former candidate she was being cast adrift.

Baraiolo was member number 6446, and she was told by Rod Miles, the national executive secretary for the party, that she had been turfed, in a letter dated May 22.

“I write to you on behalf of the National Executive for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party, to advise that the Executive has, on review of your conduct, formally cancelled your Membership effective from the above stated date on this letter,” Miles wrote. “A vote regarding this decision was put to the National Executive today and was subsequently Seconded with recommendation for immediate action to be taken for contravention of National Constitution rules.”

Miles then cites the rule from the party’s national constitution that states that the party is able to expel an individual who “while being a member of the Party, by or through the member’s acts or statements, causes damage to the good name and reputation of the Party or brings the Party into disrepute”. Miles does not specify what actions or words from Baraiolo caused the party to expel her, but Baraiolo tells Crikey she suspects it has to do with the fact she has repeatedly requested receipts for the monies paid to the party on January 11 and other information.

The date of the expulsion letter coincides with the date of a conversation held between Smith and Baraiolo regarding her electoral expenditure. Baraiolo sent Smith an email two days later referring to the conversation and also demanding that the party refrain from taking 25% of any public funding to which she is entitled because she did not sign the candidate agreement at the time.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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