disaffected voters

A 17-year-old saga over a $150,000 indemnity related to legal costs involving Pauline Hanson’s One Nation and David Ettridge, one of three co-founders of the party, has once again risen like a phoenix in the past fortnight.

Ettridge has launched yet another attempt to secure an indemnity from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation by lodging a complaint with the Queensland Police. He has asked them to look at whether an offence was committed by Hanson under the Queensland Criminal Code in not giving him access to funds to which he believed he was entitled under provisions in the party constitution in 2001.

That damn indemnity

This long-running issue dates back to when both Hanson and Ettridge were the subjects of legal action related to allegations of electoral fraud. They were both imprisoned in 2003 but later released following a successful appeal that was largely led by Ettridge.

Ettridge argues his costs should be met by the party because the party’s constitution that was effective at the time contains a provision for indemnities to be paid to management and officers.

A media release issued by Ettridge on November 21, 2018, states that he ran and paid for his own defence. It also states he has previously sought this indemnity in 2001, 2004, 2016 and 2018.

Hanson has previously told Ettridge through lawyers that there is no claim. A spokesperson for the senator said an invitation has been extended to Ettridge to contact Hanson’s legal team for further discussions. “If Mr Ettridge believes he has a claim, we will welcome him to speak with our lawyers,” the spokesperson said.

In 2001, Hanson was reported as saying Ettridge was unlikely to receive funds in the form of an indemnity. An article published in the Gold Coast Bulletin on August 1, 2001, quoted Ettridge stating he was not angry with his former One Nation colleague: “Pauline is only one person on the national executive.”

More recent references to an indemnity matter were made throughout 2017. The ABC published details on April 4, 2017, related to the indemnity claim shortly after the broadcast of the Four Corners report on One NationThe Guardian referred to the indemnity in an April 6, 2017, article, The Australian referred to Ettridge chasing the party for this claim on June 3, 2017, and Crikey also published a reference to the claim on August 18, 2017.

Keeping the crew together

This is not the only action that has been bubbling beneath the surface in the ranks of former One Nation office bearers and staff. Former One Nation senator Brian Burston — who is now the standard bearer in the Senate for Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party — has recently lost yet another staff member.

Former executive assistant Wendy Leach joins Brian Tucker, Peter Kelly, Peter Breen, Mary-Ann Oaten, Nathan Ashby and Frank Salter among those that were fired. Former senator Malcolm Roberts and staffer Diana Allen resigned from the Burston office.

Being bumped off the Burston headcount has not deterred Brian Tucker from considering a tilt at the federal parliament. There is now a Facebook page and accompanying video for the budding NSW Senate candidate spruiking the Australian Better Families Party:

As your NSW Senate candidate for the ABF Party, I want you to know that I am here to make sure your voice is heard in the Senate as we work to reform family law, child support policy and domestic violence laws. It is my priority to ensure Australian families benefit before all others from policy decisions and reforms.

Peter Fray

Inoculate yourself against the spin

Get Crikey for just $1 a week and support our journalists’ important work of uncovering the hypocrisies that infest our corridors of power.

If you haven’t joined us yet, subscribe today to get your first 12 weeks for $12 and get the journalism you need to navigate the spin.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW