The protesters

The protesters came in all shapes and sizes.

They were generally well-behaved although the fringe element were abusive and offensive.

There were the old regulars like this fellow.

Amongst the front runners in the fashion stakes were Ipswich Councillor Paul Tully who's partner his Alsatian bitch, Cheetah, created a great impact with the media.

Then we had a member of the Ku Klux Klan who seemed to curry great favour with the fringe group of gay and lesbian protesters trying to take a stand for their rights.

The more extreme and "crazy" protesters included:

Another KKK clone - but resplendent in a sarong and bow tie and (below right) one of the most verbally violent women I have ever seen pictured here with a big banner bearing a Nazi symbol.

She shouted "Fascist pig" at every guest running the gauntlet. It was good to see the police keeping a close eye on her.

In fact the police were very good in handling the protesters which numbered about 300 at their peak... the main party Left Link arriving in two large buses just before the start swelling the paltry number of protesters considerably.

Standing there as an observer I quickly realised the motivation of different people making up the protesters. Then there were the "show ponies" like those referred to above. There were the general minority groups each with their axe to grind and then there were a few remaining protesters lost in the crowd who actually felt very strongly about issues that Pauline Hanson had raised - but they were a tiny number among the throng of protesters. Even here you could feel that their chance to voice their opinion had been abused by those with other agendas. It was not just One Nation that groups such as Left Link were betraying - it was those who really felt threatened by One Nation. Perhaps they were the real losers - not One Nation?

In the main the protesters were quite peaceful, if somewhat vocal, but the protesters wanting to be in the action lined the path that Pauline Hanson's guests were taking to get into the hall. They were quick to scorn the guests but hated their actions being turned back on them by a guest. This was done repeatedly with some high degree of success when a guest would stand in front of the protesters chanting "Hey, hey, Ho, Ho, Pauline Hanson has to go" and raise their arms as if conducting a choir...

The really dangerous protester is best epitomised by this very violent and abusive young lady who, with her partner (right), verbally attacked several guests and then confronted the Korean television crew (left) requesting and getting an interview. Hopefully that bit of tape will be thrown onto the cutting floor. It is, however, voices like that of this woman who's extreme and uninformed comments, if reported, can do the sort of damage to Australia's reputation that a dozen Pauline Hanson's could never do.

The protesters were rather like a crowd at a football match with the prize, to some, being to dress so outrageously that you would gain infamy by being shown on television screens around the country... and a message for Prime Minister John Howard- Yes, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party does seem to attract people with radical views - but not as supporters of the party but opposing it. I guess that Mr Howard and the Liberal Party stand quietly behind these fringe extremists of minority groups damaging Australia's reputation overseas.

Return to launch of Pauline Hanson's One Nation on the Gold Coast