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Monday 19th May 1997

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We can see first hand the manner in which Australia's self-proclaimed leading current affairs program 60 Minutes will stoop to get a story - in this case a denigrating expose on Pauline Hanson and her party One Nation.

Just a few days ago the same Packer owned television station, Channel 9, carried an extended interview on prime time "A Current Affair" with the new kid on their block, James Packer, without covering his father and Australia's wealthiest man, Kerry's, outstanding tax bill of over Au$143 million which were not considered relevant... even though that represents nearly Au$10 for every man, woman and child in this country.

The letter that I will transcribe verbatim below gives a very good insight into the approach that 60 Minutes took to secure the interview with Pauline Hanson. It is dated the 5th May 1997 and signed by none other than the Executive Producer, John Westacott.

Alternatively, here is a scan of the actual fax sent to Pauline Hanson's One Nation by 60 Minutes. The letter, addressed to the National Director of Pauline Hanson's One Nation reads as follows:

Dear David,

Further to our telephone conversation this morning, here is an outline of our proposal to prepare a report on the develoment of One Nation as an emerging political force in Australia.

Ideally, we would have a reporter (Liz Hayes) and a crew follow Ms Hanson to a rally and later conduct a formal interview. We'd also like the opportunity for some behind-the-scenes filming of strategy discussions etc.. to develop the notion that we are seeing first hand, a new political party in the making.

The thrust of our report would suggest that initially Pauline Hanson was a phenomenon in Australian politics, today she is clearly a force to be reckoned with.

The major parties now have been required to take her and One Nation seriously and have begun their political counter attacks.

We consider it is time we look past the "Pauline Phenomenon" and report what she is saying and what direction she and the movement are heading.

On a personal level Pauline has gained a staggering following and I believe our viewers would be interested in hearing how she is coping with the challenge. A challenge that is turning out to be a major and historic task.

Yours sincerely,...

Any minder reading that proposal for an interview would be plain stupid not to jump at the opportunity to get the sort of exposure that 60 Minutes can provide... thus when the proposal was accepted by One Nation one cannot help recalling the haunting words of 60 Minutes reporter Geoff McMullins (yes, not Liz Hayes as suggested) early in the interview when he says, "She (Pauline Hanson) wasn't to thrilled to see 60 Minutes again but her minders persuaded her to let us in."

What followed in the 60 Minutes program was so far off the agreement outlined in the letter from the executive producer of 60 Minutes to be laughable.

Now we are not for one moment suggesting that Geoff McMullins and 60 Minutes do not have the right to report things as they see it, but to secure the interview on the basis of a written agreement which is then discarded once the objective is achieved demonstrates the methods that are employed by this program to gain the interview at any cost.

Now let's think back on how young James Packer was treated by the same television channel... no tough questions, no prying, just feel-good stuff. Obviously that proposal (whoever authored it) went exactly to plan.

The thrust of the Pauline Hanson One Nation story as the executive producer of 60 Minutes had discussed and agreed is itallicised in red in the letter above. What actually went to air is summarised below:

In his opening gambit Geoff McMullins says, "...we asked Pauline Hanson to explain, to please explain some of the claims she is making that has so inflamed politicial debate here. Claims that on the one hand are building massive following for her but on the other are provoking some of the most passionate protests we have seen in this country."

McMullins continues the line with, "While thousands have taken up the protest it is only the select few who get to meet Pauline."

The program degenerates from here on with Pauline Hanson's credibility being tested and found to be guilty with cuts and pastes which include Prime Minister John Howard calling Ms Hanson "just plain silly", and discussion on a booklet called the Ausbuy guide.

The one sided approach of the program is summarised below and one does not have to look to hard to see what the entire object of the exercise was.

On growing hatred in Australia, McMullins says to Ms Hanson, "There seems to be a lot of hate in the air isn't that dangerous?"

Ms Hanson, "That's only happening out there because the true message is not getting across to the people. How could there possibly be hatred from anyone when you are calling for equality for all Australians?"

McMullins continues, "... latest poll suggests that 66% of Australians blame you for the racial intolerance that's around at the moment".

Ms Hanson, "The hate out there is from people who clearly concede they've got the most to lose and the majority of Australians have been forgotten..."

The attack on Ms Hanson's credibility then gets into full swing with 60 Minutes obviously having done their research on issues through which an attack could be launched on her. The trap is laid...

McMullins, "Do you think your real message is being tilted or distorted?"

Ms Hanson, "People believe it has been and that's why they've come to listen to me."

Now the crux of the entire program then revolves around this statement by Ms Hanson as McMullins contines, "What happened in Hobart is more proof for Pauline of that great conspiracy - she talks about it all the time. If its not the media its the politicians."

Ms Hanson (file footage from earlier press conference): "Twenty four hours after Prime Minister Howard and Kim Beazley attacked me in the media the civil disobedience they incited was perpetrated on honest, law abiding, citizens in Tasmania."

McMullins then brings in a twist by saying, "You don't think you are making people afraid?
"... critics find it maddening that she can inflame so much passion with wild exaggeration."

Again the above statement is a key part of the program's thrust in discrediting Ms Hanson as McMullins then sets out to demonstrate that her claims on Asian immigration and the foreign buy out of Australian companies are false - by implication that One Nation has been established on exaggeration and inuendo. There is no right of reply on the research and subsequent discrediting of Ms Hanson that 60 Minutes employ - it is simply accepted as fact.

On Ms Hanson's stance on immigration McMullins says, "For his (an unnamed person on the Gold Coast - described as being "bitter against Asians") figures to be right Australia would have to take in 40 million Asians and in 30 years our total population must grow to 140 million.

"Plainly Ms Hanson's claims are wrong by about 1000%."

McMullins, "Another of Pauline Hanson's claims is that all Australia's manufacturing companies will soon be taken over by foreigners. I work for a big Australian company why would the Packer family want to sell off a company like this one?"

(See National Australia Bank - Don Argus' comment below under Business).

McMullins continues his interview with Ms Hanson, "How much do you think we are losing in dividends (to foreigners)?"

Ms Hanson, "About Au$200 billion a year."

McMullins, "The trouble is the figures Ms Hanson is using to scare people is the Ausbuy guide."
WRONG McMullins- her source is actually AUSTAND Association Inc.

The discrediting of Pauline Hanson complete McMullins and 60 Minutes now turn the blow torch for a moment onto the "backroom boys".

McMullins, "In the back room we have David Ettridge a former charity fund raiser." Credentials complete he moves on...

"...and in her parliament office a renegade from the Liberal Party - David Oldfield Hanson's new principal adviser and very likely her first new candidate for a Senate seat."

Well that just about sums up the 60 Minutes story on Pauline Hanson's One Nation party. The media have got a right to report on issues, we give them that, but to come in under the guise of:

"We'd also like the opportunity for some behind-the-scenes filming of strategy discussions etc.. to develop the notion that we are seeing first hand, a new political party in the making.

"The thrust of our report would suggest that initially Pauline Hanson was a phenomenon in Australian politics, today she is clearly a force to be reckoned with."

This morning David Ettridge responded to the 60 Minutes program saying, "They (60 Minutes) will never get another interview with Pauline Hanson. They promised to do a soft, positive piece - that's why we agreed to the interview. What they produced was a betrayal of the agreement that they had with Pauline."

Email your comments to us

or send an email to 60 Minutes.

A meeting of Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party is taking place in Victoria at the South Barwon Civic Centre, 2 Colac Road, Belmont on Monday 19th May 1997. The meeting will commence at 7pm. Entry cost is Au$5.

The objects of the meeting are to:

Drug baron George Savvas yesterday hanged himself in Sydney's Maitland Prison after an aborted escape attempt the previous day with serial killer Ivan Milat.

Milat was moved to Sydney's Long bay jail shortly before the escape attempt which had been monitored by police.

Savvas had a reputation as a tough, resiliant man but the 25 year minimum jail sentence proved to be too much.


The Queensland State National party would lose four seats at the next election based on current polls.

This follows the outrage over the Wik decision.

Pauline Hanson's One Nation Official home page.

email the editor

You say:

Subject: media and the truth

we all know that the media never get their facts straight.

however, i would also suggest that nicolas rothwell's article is the first piece of balanced coverage pauline hanson & one nation have received in the murdoch press.

helen darville

Subject: GWB and One Nation party issues

I have just finished reading your page on "GWB position on One Nation".

I was very impressed to see a company, in the 90's, that understands the meaning of integrity. I only hope that you will be able to maintain this.

As you are well aware, you have now stepped on the toes of the power brokers. If you become too much of a "thorn in the side", they will soon take measures to correct that.

There is an old saying that, "every man has his price". An example of this is seen in Trade Unionism. It's taken the P/Brokers awhile to realise that you can't "kick" the union out of a member, but you can sure as hell buy the member out of the union.

Anyway, keep up the good work and thank you for the truth.

Regards from
S.E. Wagger.

You seem to focus on the actions of anti-Hanson supporters, true, their actions may appear harsh and unacceptable. However, they are no different from the actions of pro-Hanson supporters who attack innocent people on the street for nothing more than their ethnic origin. In all her time in the media, Hanson has never publicly addressed the actions of the thugs whom she represents, unlike John Howard who has urged for the halting of demonstrations, Hanson appears to enjoy the attacks carried out by ill-informed, ignorant yobbos (battlers according to Hanson).

Perhaps the reason for the severity of the protests is that some people realise the direction of a party based upon an agenda of hate and social division. We do not need a repeat of Nazi Germany here in Australia.

When Hanson has finally been defeated and humiliated, Australia will not be allowed to forget the embarassment it has brought upon itself by allowing the emergence of a Nazi in the name of free speech

As I hope that I have provided a rational argument, I hope that you would put my letter in your hate mail section. Although you probably won't as it would spoil the image that you have created of all anti-Hanson supporters being violent thugs

Larry Jacon


The chief executive officer of National Australia Bank warned yesterday that Australian banks were "sitting ducks" for foreign takeovers, especially while there was uncertainty surrounding the Federal Government's "four pillars" policy.

Argus, "I would be pointing out what the Government would be forgoing by allowing a foreign interest to take the bank over... but my owners might have a different view - they might say 'Well why shouldn't you give ownership to this group?'."

Westpac managing director Bob Joss refused to say whether the bank had received any overseas interest (in taking over the bank).

Personal trivia, from the global office:

Another beautiful day in paradise, yesterday my wife and I went for a long canoe trip down to Kookaburra park where we enjoyed a glass of wine on the banks of the Brisbane river.

Have a great day.

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