Wednesday 20 August 2003

A Fate Worse Than Death

From the Sydney Morning Herald :
People suspected of posing a threat to Australia's security could have their telephone and internet services cut off under new laws before Parliament.
But if you think Terrorists are going to have it tough, don't try forming a populist Political Party. The Australian Political Establishment never forgives and never forgets. Case in point : the recent conviction and jailing of two people who had the effrontery to form a far-right political party that at one time posed a real threat to the mainstream.

I happen to oppose this group, not everything they stand for, but most of it. Much (though not all) of their membership I consider to be racist scumbags. Most of the rest I think are just terminally chauvinist and ignorant.

But the prosecutions always did have the signs of being a politically-inspired Witch-hunt. From the ABC :
Former One Nation director David Oldfield says Hanson and Ettridge are paying a very high price for what he believes was a simple mistake.

"They did not receive a penny personally in any way for this having occurred, so I think it's all a bit harsh given those circumstances," he said.
Just a bit. With no non-parole period recommended, they'll probably have to serve the full term. Armed robbers get less. You get 6 months more for manslaughter. It's what an MP gets for blatant and intentional bribery and corruption.
The vice president of One Nation in Western Australia, Brian McRae, says the party is devastated.

He says he does not believe the convictions will bring the party into disrepute.

"Generally most people realise it's a political witchhunt, people who aren't even in the party," he said.
Even people like myself who would gladly see the Party dead and buried. But not like this.
Before the sentence was handed down, Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said the verdict would not spell the end of One Nation.

He says Hanson may now become a martyr.

"There will be people who will see her as being martyred," he said.

"I just say to all those people who think that way that this process has been followed in accordance with the law, there has been no political interference, this has been due process."
<sarcasm>Yeah, Right, Pete.</sarcasm>
Leader Bill Flynn disagrees with the verdict but says it is not the end of the party.

"I'm not going to go into conspiracy theories, we think there was a weight of opinion in certain areas of influence to make sure that this happened," he said.
...which is about the only area of agreement I have with the man.
The Queensland National Party leader, Lawrence Springborg, says no-one should take pleasure from the Hanson verdict.

"The jury has made this decision, I don't think anyone should gloat over it and I believe it's now time to move on," he said.
Easy for him to say: he wasn't given 3 years for what was a technical breach of the electoral laws. No, the convictions might be Kosher, but the sentences stink to high heaven.

The Full Story of Pauline Hanson makes interesting reading. But it all comes down to a technical infraction of the rules. Even the prosecutors admitted that. From the Brisbane Courier-Mail
In the District Court in Brisbane, solicitor Chris Nyst was addressing the jury in a fraud case against Pauline Lee Hanson.

The Crown has alleged Hanson and David William Ettridge fraudulently registered One Nation by using the names of 500 people who were members of a supporters group and not the party.
Mr Nyst said the trial was not about "if One Nation were a mob of dopes who knew nothing about running a party". He said there were two clear organisations - a supporters group and a political party - and while it may not have pleased a legal draftsman it was the way the party chose to establish itself.
Pauline Hanson's Legal Qualifications and usual occupation? None, and Fish Shop Proprietor, respectively. "Mob of Dopes" seems perfectly appropriate in describing all aspects of the party, its (dis)organisation and leadership.

I repeat: the sentences - unlike her Fish, but like her party's policies - stink.

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