Election of Ipswich branch One Nation executive and committee -

5th September 1997

The Protesters:

It was a perfect spring evening following one of those balmy Queensland days which have made this Australian state famous for the slogan, "Beautiful one day, perfect the next..."

The Queensland Times had that morning warned that the Brisbane branch of the Anti-Racism Committee were threatening violence in an attempt to gain access to the meeting to which I was going.

I arrived at the Scout hall in South Street, Ipswich just after 6.15pm for the 7pm meeting - and knew that I was at the right venue because the police were there in numbers, unlike the hapless small group of Brisbane Anti-Racism Campaign regulars like the fellow below (head and shoulders) who I have seen protesting at every single Pauline Hanson's One Nation meeting since the launch back in April this year. I recognise him as one of the thugs in the thug file. The organiser of the goons appeared to be the man with little hair talking to a policeman in the photo on the left.

The protesters, who numbered about 40 at their peak, were up to their old tricks with sing-a-long chants and abuse being thrown at those who came to attend the One Nation meeting. They had singled me out by now as "one of them"... no longer just another reporter to pose for and, as in the wall paper, the placard was raised every time I took a photo... but if the television cameras were turned on the chants of "Racist, racist, racist" would ring loud and clear for the pure edification of the cameraman and file footage of those who hoped that it would be used at some time in the future. This staged scenario would be repeated even if there were no guests within earshot.

This contrived exercise revealed a very sick mentality amongst the hardcore protesters - in particular the man with the camera in the photo on the left below.... he gave it all he got for about 10 seconds with shouts of racist... etc right in front of Channel 10's cameraman then turned around to the lady on his right and said, quite audibly, "I better get home to watch myself on the 10 O'Clock news".

The young fellow above right and below with the camera took photographs of me to expose this "One Nation" racist who put them on the Internet.

It was time to move inside to where the real people had gathered, leaving the 40 odd rent-a-crowd outside.

The Meeting:

Inside the guests had started to gather for the election of office bearers and the Ipswich Pauline Hanson's One Nation committee. Well over 100 had gathered, more than the initial Ipswich branch meeting about one month previously.

The meeting was opened at just after 7pm with Darryl Kelly running proceedings.

The prospective executive were asked to make short presentations on why they felt that they were the right people for the job.

After a show of hands Reg Bishop (left below) was elected President, Darryl Kelly (alongside) Vice-President, Judith Thorne Treasurer and Jim Thomas (right below) Treasurer. Reg Bishop was selected to represent the branch at the next Annual General Meeting of Pauline Hanson's One Nation.

There was a thirteen man committee elected made up of:

Paul Wilson, Tony Price, Yvonne Miller, David Bell, Scott Balson, Geoff Walkenen, Leslie Stewart, Darren Zennot, Edward Ashe snr and jnr, Angus MacGregor, Barbera Hazelton and Sylvia Gillard.

Hanson arrives and speaks:

Shortly after the committee was elected, at about 8pm, Pauline Hanson arrived - we knew she had because the goons outside suddenly turned their verbal outrage on her as she walked in.

I was able to take the photos below as she entered the hall.

Pauline spoke for about half an hour on the biased reporting that she had continued to receive in the mainstream media. She spoke without notes and with great emotion and confidence during this time. The transformation of this woman from a fish and chip proprietor just 18 months before to an accomplished public speaker was just a new facet in the Hanson Phenomenon.

Remarkable that this one woman now had 162 One Nation branches all over Australia - with ten opening every week and all she could do was thank "us" for taking the time and the trouble to be there .

Following her speech I was lucky to get these exclusive pictures of Pauline Hanson standing with her new Ipswich branch executive committee. These will be the people central to her campaign to retain her Federal seat - be it the revised Oxley or the new seat of Blair.

The meeting closed at about 9.30pm with a number of the goons outside to greet us as we left.

Return to launch of Pauline Hanson's One Nation branches