ABBOTT THE PAST IS COMING BACK TO HIT YOU IN THE ASS ” Shit Happens ”
According to a report in The Australian of 23 August, 2003 , Federal Liberal Party heavyweight Tony Abbott offered money and support to former One Nation member Terry Sharples to help destroy Pauline Hanson. Their conspiracy resulted in the fraud charges and the eventual jailing of Pauline Hanson.
This was a conspiracy to defraud one million voters of a legitimate voice and to destroy a new political force before it challenged the Liberal-Labor duopoly.
Liberals’ policy hatched in One Nation heartland
IT took only a few hours after the floodwaters hit Brisbane last month for the tyro voice of Queensland’s once loud, now diminished, One Nation party to start making noise.
In its sights was the Gillard government’s financial support in the wake of the disaster, balanced against its multi-billion-dollar foreign aid program.
As the river city sat under a wash of mud, silt and debris-laden water, Labor and Coalition party leaders were busy offering inspiration and sympathy, and dodging questions about the specifics of the cost and funding source of the massive recovery that lay ahead.
But in One Nation’s cramped office in the working-class town of Beenleigh, southeast of Brisbane, new state director Ian Nelson was burning with rage.
A former businessman, who says he has worked extensively in Asia, Mr Nelson was angry the Bligh and Gillard governments were giving a “paltry” $1 million each to the flood victims’ fund just weeks after $500m in foreign aid had been committed to Indonesian schools.
On that morning – January 13 – the newcomer to Australian politics decided to vent to his fellow travellers on the One Nation website.
It was a blog that rallied the party, sparking a political guerilla assault – involving an email campaign to federal MPs and calls to talkback radio – that appears to have inspired, and then divided, the federal Coalition under Tony Abbott.
“After watching this tragedy unfold, we need to see a new model produced with regards to aid, especially foreign aid. Wouldn’t common sense dictate that you take care of your own citizens first and foremost?” Mr Nelson asked in his first of a series of blogs linking government support, and then the $1.8 billion flood levy, to foreign aid.
Within weeks, the Opposition Leader had focused on the Indonesian school aid, calling for a deferral of the program to help fund the recovery and negate the need for the Gillard government’s controversial levy.
Yesterday, Wayne Swan accused Mr Abbott of “stealing sound bites from One Nation” on the Christmas Island asylum-seeker funerals in Sydney on Tuesday, although there are no emails linking to party to the controversy over the issue.
Mr Nelson said he had not been contacted by media organisations to comment on the issue until yesterday, after Coalition immigration spokesman Scott Morrison had attacked the government for footing the bill for relatives to attend the funerals.
“I don’t know of anyone in the party sending out emails or anything else before it became a public issue,” he said. “But I also believe that the government should not be picking up the tab.”
For Mr Nelson, the Coalition’s embrace of his line on foreign aid and the flood levy is tangible evidence that One Nation – despite its decade on the political fringe – is still a “potent force”.
“It just wasn’t right what was happening and I wrote about it, like I have been doing on a range of issues,” Mr Nelson told The Australian yesterday.
“A lot of members and people outside the party started contacting the website or ringing me and congratulating me on the stance because they also couldn’t understand why the government wasn’t looking after its own first.”
Mr Nelson admits One Nation – like “all mainstream parties” – often rallies its supporters to ring talkback radio and bombard politicians with letters and emails to “get their message across”.
In this case, Mr Nelson says, the campaign started to “really kick off” after he wrote another blog on January 14. The blog – which purported to give more specifics of foreign aid funding – claimed the Indonesian school system had produced terrorists, including Bali bombing mastermind Abu Bakar Bashir. “So . . . ask your local member how come 2010 Queensland flood victims get $1 million?” the blog implored. Mr Nelson said the party had a research arm called Owl Link – “they are top secret and they get their facts right”.
“I wrote the blogs and after the reaction, I put the word out through many means to members and supporters to use the blog and put out letters, emails and ring the radio stations,” he said. “It gathered pace from there.”
Media Monitors research reveals that, on January 18, the first calls linking Indonesian aid to government disaster support were made to talkback radio.
One of the two radio jocks initially fielding the calls was David Oldfield, a former adviser to One Nation founder Pauline Hanson, on Sydney’s 2UE. The other was Melbourne 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.
The calls began to mount on January 21 as the Gillard government flagged the possibility of imposing a flood levy. Mr Nelson said it was about then that “the shit really hit the fan”. Politicians and the letters pages of newspapers were bombarded with emails.
The Australian has obtained a series of emails – aimed at Labor and Coalition MPs – that used Mr Nelson’s blog as a template.
Some politicians had no idea, until yesterday, that the genesis of the emails was with One Nation.
Mr Nelson said it did not surprise him the Coalition had taken the same stance. “They can deny all they like, but the idea came from us,” he said.
Media sourced theaustralian.com.au