As a One Nation member and independent reporter it might come as a surprise to some @notd readers that I and the membership, rightly, freely question the motives, perception of and underlying thinking of all senior party identities and their impact on the party. Unlike the Laboral factions (major parties) I am not muzzled by the leadership - and I think that that makes the lie of the mainstream media's publicly presented view that the party is an autocratically run institution based on fear.
I have published a Pasquarelli forum on the @notd, carried his letters and moderated the Pasquarelli newsgroup - all uncensored (rather like the Labor Party having a Hanson column on-line); reported negatively on One Nation where I felt it was relevant and have tried to put my reporting integrity over blind party politicking.
Why this intro - well today I feel it is necessary to question where David Oldfield is coming from.
He told the papers just over a week ago that he is considering a move into Federal politics...
|The following clarification was received
from the National Director of One Nation, David Ettridge, this afternoon.
Despite this I stand by everything that I have said in this
"The line in a Sun-Herald story which claimed David Oldfield has said he had Federal ambitions is simply untrue and David made this very clear in a subsequent story which was printed in Murdoch's The Manly Daily two days later. I can assure you that in my dealings with David he has never voiced any such ambition. You could have established this if you had simply phoned David to seek clarification of the Sun Herald claims. You, more than anyone should know that newspaper stories cannot be relied upon for accuracy. You wrote a book about their willingness to deceive their readers."
I admire David O's strong assaults on the media and his ability to rip apart his opponents over issues. Herein lies his great asset for One Nation. But with all his great assets there is one great flaw that he has, apparently, problems with remedying.
That is his abrasive, condescending and bulldozing attitude when dealing with loyal One Nation members. It is a side of his personality One Nation could do without. Perhaps the most damaging result of this trait was the uncalled for comments, foul language and unbending stance when discussing the flawed One Nation constitution with Queensland State MPs in January this year. The MPs were voicing valid concerns about the constitution which was, after the 1999 National AGM, sent back to the national executive for a major overhaul. This was a belated reality check for the national executive as we had already lost these five Queensland MPs largely as a result of the Oldfield fracas.
One of the most important qualities of a great leader is the ability to listen and to suffer fools gladly - because even the most foolish can teach us things that we had not thought of, or offer points of view that might lead us closer to the light. Even fools have friends and express their feelings to a wider circle of contacts.
It is this ability that makes Pauline Hanson great - a people's person - a great, natural leader. Despite her, sometimes, faltering appearance in front of a hostile media people love her naturalness and outspoken comments which come from the heart. And, by God, she listens - she is often the last to leave a meeting - often having been cornered by a little old lady who goes into her life story! Hanson takes this into her stride. I wish I could have the patience and wisdom that Pauline shows in this area.
The paradox in David Oldfield is his ability to woo the viewer through the media with great finesse. However, the general perception among a growing number of One Nation supporters is that the only men and women in David's life at any time are those who can further his own political career. The perception is that everyone else is cast aside... now that is the perception, and perceptions in politics - as David knows - are the reality.
Simply put David O, today, is not a team player. Many believe that David O looks after David O and is a loner when it comes to playing the political cards. David O is not infallible as has been demonstrated many times before.
Dangerous. With all his brilliance he is nothing without Hanson.
Yet many One Nation members believe that Oldfield's overriding goal is to take over the leadership of the party from Pauline Hanson and that his maiden speech comments were a great platform on which to build his own profile while Ms Hanson is in the political wilderness - even if she was there to support him when he made the speech.
Many ask why about Au$1.2 million allegedly spent by Manly office on Oldfield's campaign to secure him a NSW Senate seat. This was an enormous drain on One Nation which has faced and still faces a series of costly legal challenges. In contrast, no funds were spent by Manly office on the Victorian State election. How will One Nation continue to fund the party machine or justify members putting their hands in their pockets when one considers the imbalance in the decision to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on getting one representative into the NSW Parliament?
If Oldfield made a snatch for the leadership, whatever the reasoning, the flight of grass roots supporters from this party, especially outside NSW, would be catastrophic to the party but not for our issue-based cause. I would be among those to leave if he made this move. Pauline Hanson is the apolitical symbol of unity underlying the issues we fight for - and the only reason that so many people stay with One Nation despite the negative, but often media-inspired, perceptions associated with David Oldfield and David Ettridge.
Now I don't support these negative views - but they are the perceptions - and therefore in the eyes of the pubic they are the reality. David's time would be better spent dispelling the perceptions outlined above by watching how Ms Hanson deals with the general public, supporters etc... and following her lead in this area. He needs to start being one of us rather than presenting the image of being "better" than us. Then he might be in a position of trust and be treated as a serious contender for the leadership by the membership some time in the future. At the moment he needs to understand he does not.
This is a reality check for David Oldfield spoken from the heart.
Moves are currently well advanced to progress a broad-based nationalistic movement inspired by Pauline Hanson, Graham Campbell and others. This broader, issue based, apolitical consortium/think tank will include Australia First, independent editors like Tony Pitt and The Strategy's Ray Pratt as well as, perhaps, a hundred smaller "right" and "left" wing parties who share our concerns and goals.
There will be no grandstanding by individuals in this "populist" movement although there is a special place reserved for Ms Hanson.
Ettridge's faxed letter in response to the above article is reproduced below. I never did "please explain" to Ettridge. At a meeting with Pauline Hanson the next day, at which I resigned as One Nation web master over this article, Hanson confirmed that she had sighted and approved the Ettridge edict shown below:
November 3rd 1999
Global Web Builders
P.O. Box 1414 (sic)
Mt Crosby Qld 4306
Today's news of the day article on David Oldfield is an attack on the party.
The line in the Sun-Herald story which claimed David had said he had federal ambitions is simply untrue and David made this very clear in a subsequent story which was printed in Murdoch's "The Manly Daily" two days later. I can assure you that in my close dealings with David he has never voiced any such ambitions. You could have established this if you had simply phoned David to seek clarification of the Sun Herald claims. You, more than anyone should know that newspaper stories cannot be relied on for accuracy. You wrote a book about their willingness to deceive their readers.
Much of your notd (sic) articles in speculation which is damaging because you broadcast and give credence to matters that simply are not true. Your article has the potential to fuel further media attacks on the Party which will be damaging.
I have said many times that the people who claim to support us and who publish their opinions; people like Tony Pitt, Ray Platt, Darryl Wheelie and John Pasquarelli, have never phoned us and given us a fair chance to respond to the rumours and innuendo they so enthusiastically report. I am now very surprised that you have done the same thing. Murdoch's reporters don't do that to us.
You may not be surprised that we are annoyed at your attack on David and we are also concerned that you are reported to be attending meetings with people like Bevan Collingwood, Brian McDermott, Tony Pitt, Darryl Wheelie and others. Such unsubstantiated reports are given some credence when we see the part of you story which advocates the apolitical think tank. Please advise if you have attended a meeting with a group of people some who are named above. You may be aware that all of those people have failed to form a successful political party and they have been adversarial to Pauline Hanson's One Nation. Most are devoted to attacking us.
Your careful attempt to separate Pauline from the thrust of your attack in notd (sic) fails, simply because any attack on the party is an attack on her as well. Your story should not have been written and I personally suspect that you have been influenced by others. If your alleged meetings with the people mentioned above are true then you have formed alliances that are not in the best interests of Pauline Hanson's One Nation.
I look forward to your response by return.
Pauline Hanson's One Nation
(signed) D Ettridge