Sackings and bitter infighting hit Pauline Hanson's One Nation WA campaign
Nick O'Malley, Nathan Hondros
Courtesy of the SMH
The implosion of One Nation's Western Australian branch days before the state's election is no real surprise. This is not just because we have seen this party self-immolate before, but because the tensions have been escalating throughout the campaign.
For weeks candidates and staff have complained about poor organisation and a distant autocratic head office, while support has fallen from over 13 per cent to about 8.5 per cent.
Two axed One Nation officials intend to take legal action against Pauline Hanson for alleged age discrimination.
Though Western Australia has a system of fixed four-year government terms, the party did not secure the necessary 500 members to register in WA until late October and One Nation leader Pauline Hanson did not conduct candidate interviews until just before Christmas.
Even the eventual announcement of candidates was botched. Hanson was unable to say in which order the upper house candidates would be ranked and media were not provided full list of candidates until hours after the event. One Nation, still portraying itself as the new third force in Australian politics, was able to field only 45 candidates for the state's 59 lower house seats.
The vetting process might have been patchy too ......
Last month two candidates – Dane Sorensen and Sandy Baraiolo – were dumped after criticising the preference deal the party cut with the Liberal Party. Baraiolo claimed she later received phone threats. The deal rankled many candidates, who in keeping with One Nation's outsider identity were not comfortable supporting the incumbent premier Colin Barnett.
It cost them support too.
When Hanson visited Mandurah in the state's south west on Monday, one local, Chris Quirk, turned out to wish her well but said he would not be voting for her.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson campaigning in Mandurah, south of Perth. Photo: AAP
"Before Pauline Hanson said she would give her preferences to the Liberal Party, we were going that way, but as soon as she said that, I'm sorry, a vote for Pauline would then keep the man in power and Colin Barnett we do not want to keep in power," he said.
As the polls fell it must have become clear to some of lower house candidates that they had no chance of winning and were in effect being used to hand out how-to-vote forms for the upper house campaign.
Last week campaign staff griped to Fairfax Media that too many decisions had to "go through Queensland". There was talk of problems with how-to-vote cards and difficulty getting material approved for distribution.
In Mandurah, One Nation signage was only going up on candidate Doug Shaw's campaign office on Tuesday, even though the building had been operating as his headquarters for over a month.
Last Friday the candidate for Kalamunda, Ray Gould, quit, saying the party had broken faith with supporters with its deal and offered too little support to candidates.
"I've had enough," he told the ABC. "Nothing has been upfront, we haven't been told the truth from day one.
"I'm talking to voters and they say, 'We like Pauline Hanson but she's done a deal with the Liberals and she can't be trusted.'
Yesterday morning when Fairfax Media sought to confirm rumours of more trouble, One Nation staff in Canberra and WA denied the suggestion.
Then came the press conference.
Ron McLean and wife Marye Louise Daniels, associates of Hanson for 20 years, were dumped as state president and secretary of One Nation and expelled from the party.
The pair have engaged a lawyer to file an anti-discrimination claim against Hanson for allegedly telling McLean he was "too old" to run for a seat.
"She said, 'Ron, I'm sacking you from the position on [the] agriculture [ticket], I believe you're too old and you'll be 91 when the term's finished'."
Sham, sham, sham !
I have seized upon the
comments of the two WA octogenarians who Hanson has savaged in today's West
' Ron McLean, 87, and his wife Marye Daniels, 79, say they were dumped from top positions in the party after a 10-minute meeting with Senator Hanson in Perth last month.
Mr McLean, who had been One Nation WA’s party president, claimed Senator Hanson told him he was too old and would be 91 by the time his term in Parliament ended.
Ms Daniels, who had acted as the party’s State secretary since 2008, said Senator Hanson and party officials came into her home “like an army” and demanded they hand over party files so they could be taken back to Queensland.'
What ever Hanson offers in
refute of their claims will be fabricated for consumption. In March 1997,
Hanson sent in the President of the Pauline Hanson's Supporters Inc, a, man who
had previously been Vice President to myself, into my home when I was out
of the house and ordered my wife who was was Secretary to hand over all of my
files that had nothing to do with Hanson or One Nation. All of those files
of our 39 branches, were subsequently destroyed.
Shortly afterwards my wife resigned.
The Gestapo action of Hanson and her team for Marye and Ron to hand over what Hanson claims are her files is tantamount to criminal. Hanson is now aware that this issue is going to blow up in her face and she wants those files to cover the tracks of how she used this couple to set up One Nation in quick time.
This issue is the tip of the iceberg ...
Hell when are the authorities going to wake up?
What happened to the members money that went into the Pauline Hanson United Australia Party?
Why isn't the media taking notice of those who know what has been going on?
I will support these two people Ron McLean and Marye Daniels. They have been used like a dirty rag by the most ungracious woman that I have ever had the misfortune to come across. Like Ron and Marye, I once put everything on the line for her. Hanson has never been wrong ...it is always the other person.
By Claire Moodie
A high-profile One Nation candidate who has spoken out against Pauline Hanson's preference deal with the WA Liberal Party has confirmed she will boycott the party's how-to-vote directive.
Margaret Dodd, who is running in the seat of Scarborough, told 7.30 that when she joined the party four weeks ago, she was assured that she would be able to decide her own preferences.
Now she has a message for Ms Hanson going into the final days of the campaign.
"Pauline, you are supposed to be listening to the people. If you can't listen to your own candidates, what chance have the people got?" she said.
Ms Dodd has unveiled her own banner for Saturday's election instructing voters to put the Liberals last.
In a written response to the ABC, Senator Hanson said she would welcome Ms Dodd to resign from the party.
"There is still time for Ms Dodd to resign as a One Nation candidate and run as an independent," she said.
"I certainly wouldn't stand in the way of her leaving the party, in fact, I'd welcome it."
Ms Dodd, whose daughter Hayley was murdered in 1999, is running to push for "no body, no parole" laws which Labor has supported.
Her daughter's body has never been found.
One Nation like 'a dictatorship'
Ms Dodd said her own leader was not being straight with the voters or the candidates.
"Don't be so dishonest, don't pretend that you are about something and then go and do deals with the Liberals unless you are going to be upfront and tell your candidates before they join that you are just a Liberal puppet," she said.
"It makes me feel as though I have been lied to.
"[It] makes me feel that the party I have joined is dishonest and their only answer to any criticism is, you are disendorsed, suck it up or leave and you are not working as team.
"It's very hard to work as a team when you are working in a dictatorship."
Ms Dodd's stance adds to the growing dissent in the party over the preference deal with the Liberal Party.
The party's candidate for Kalamunda resigned over the deal last week and another candidate was disendorsed after speaking out publicly against it.
'I can't understand why she's gone that way'
It is not just candidates who are angry.
The preference deal has forced market stallholder Vivian Davies to reconsider how she will vote in the Liberal-held seat of Wanneroo.
Inspired by Donald Trump's rise to power, Ms Davies was determined to vote for Ms Hanson when 7.30 caught up with her at the beginning of the West Australian election campaign.
"He [Trump] is following through with his promises," Ms Davies said.
"A lot of Australians are saying that we need that here and, yes, I do believe a lot of people will vote for Pauline.
"Her policies stand for what most Australians would like to see happen to the country rather than it be over-run by things that are politically correct all the time."
Traditionally a Labor voter, Ms Davies said she was turning to One Nation because of its policies on housing, immigration and helping "the ordinary Australian".
But, when 7.30 revisited her stall going into the final week of the campaign, the 62-year-old was having second thoughts and now does not know who she will vote for.
She said Senator Hanson had misread her supporters by striking a preference deal with the WA Liberals.
"I really believed that Pauline Hanson would have romped it in but there's a lot of people that don't want Barnett back and I can't understand why she's gone that way," Ms Davies said.
"I don't want Barnett to get back in. I was shocked, absolutely shocked."
'One Nation has picked a side'
Senator Hanson has been touring the state this week, trying to reassure her supporters that she is not running candidates in WA to "shore up support" for either the Labor or Liberal parties.
She has repeatedly stressed that voters themselves should take control of their preferences.
However, election analyst William Bowe believes the preference deal has received more attention than One Nation had predicted.
"Even people who are not exactly sure what a preference deal is, they've picked up loud and clear that One Nation has picked a side," he said.
"And once they have done that, they lose that fabulous advantage of being the anti-politics party, of being removed from the whole establishment, of being the kind of Donald Trump-style option that is just going to go in there and tear everything apart.
"If they have a disappointing performance here, I think the important thing is that they are going to think twice about entering a preference deal with the Liberal-National Party in Queensland."
Major parties still have support
One Nation's pitch to voters does not appeal to 19-year-old first-time Wanneroo voter Shannon Beckett-Smith.
"I think the One Nation party is just a very strong, opinionated group that are trying to force things onto other people," she said.
"Banning Muslims, taking off the burqa, that type of thing.
"We're in Australia, I get that but we've got to respect other peoples' cultures."
Ms Beckett-Smith said she would be voting for Labor because she had been unable to find full-time work and she believes the party has got the best plan for curbing unemployment.
Post the mining construction boom, the state has the highest jobless rate in the nation.
At a pre-polling booth for the seat of Wanneroo and other key northern suburbs electorates, Colin Barnett still appeared to have significant support after more than eight years in office.
Despite the state's record debt, Chris and Jeannie Clarke said they would be voting to give Mr Barnett a third term.
"He's run up a bit of a bill," Mr Clarke said.
"But we ran up a bill about 40 years ago when we bought a house and it is paid off now.
"Everybody forgets what the Barnett Government has done in the last couple of terms.
"He's built that magnificent stadium we've got.
"People have got to look at the big picture, not just what is happening today."
Mrs Dodd, if it is any conciliation to you Pauline Hanson cannot tell the truth. She sees the world through her own distorted vision and constitutes a living danger to all of us. Be patient her day of shame will come to fruition. I would apologise to you having lost a daughter under such tragic circumstances. Hanson lack of understanding of your position smacks at the attitude of the Gestapo of WW2 . This was the bloody coward who cried when they put the handcuffs on her. What a humiliation, one that can never be expunged from the minds of people. OF course in her mind they got it all wrong. Did they ?...not in my book
So this is below the belt is it? ....so was the treatment you dished out to Bruce Whiteside, Ron McLean, Marye Daniels and Margaret Dodd. That picture Pauline came about because I decided to help you. As you have done with countless others, you have treated us all like disposable trash. .
Your path is littered with people all good team players who could not tolerate a tyrant. You have lied to us all, but some of us know the truth of that. The voters will find out in the fullness of time.