13th December 1999, report by Scott Balson
In the days leading up to today there were a number of lengthy teleconferences between the five Queensland MPs and David Ettridge and David Oldfield.
The calls eventually came to nought as the intransigence of the infamous two David Factor which I had been exposing in the preceding weeks raised its ugly head again. It was only following the deregistration of the party in Queensland that I started questioning what came to me from Ettridge in Manly - this raised a real can of worms. The inflexible position of the two Davids saw the MPs being placed in a position where they had no option but to register a new party, One Nation Queensland, without "their" blessing.
The key player, Pauline Hanson, was overseas and played no part in the unfolding drama.
The paranoia of David Ettridge showed through with his demand to know if I was present at a critical teleconference at 11.30am last Friday. David, you will never know! Hours later that day One Nation Queensland was registered by the MPs.
On Sunday 12th December I attended what would probably be the last One Nation meeting under the old flawed guard.
Later that night Channel 9 raised the spectre of a "split" between Manly and Queensland on the 6pm news.
The "split" was a result of the refusal by David Oldfield to release power over a state which he had said just weeks before had "nothing to do with him".
This was a traumatic time for One Nation as Heather Hill and Ian Petersen, both high-profile One Nation identities, had been targeted as "white ants" by the Davids because they had dared question what was going on at Manly.
The images below record the mood in the One Nation offices before the 10am press conference:
Ian Petersen, Scott Balson and Bill Feldman on the phone; Feldman makes a point; one that would give Manly sleepless nights - Scott Balson, Max Aleckson (Australia First), Tony Pitt (another "whiteant") and Bill Feldman; Ian Petersen with Jack Paff, Bill Feldman and Peter Prenzler. (NOTE: I had personally invited Tony Pitt and Max Aleckson to meet the MPs. TheMPs had never met nor talked to either man before this meeting recorded below. The meeting taking place after the new party had been registered.)
The following press release was sent out to One Nation members by the new party executive following the press conference:
Dear One Nation Member,
We came to a decision on Friday, to lodge a fresh application to re-register One Nation as a separate entity at the State level. That registration was lodged and accepted by the Queensland Electoral Commission on Friday afternoon.
This should not be seen in any way as a move to pre-empt the appeal presently before the court.
It is our belief, however, that as a result of that appeal being deferred until February next year, with the possibility of even further deferment, our position, and that of the hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders who supported us at the state election, becomes more and more vulnerable. With a by- election almost certainly looming, and a very real possibility of an early State election, we face the prospect of entering an election campaign unregistered. This would mean that all candidates, including the five sitting members, would have to stand as independents, as well as reducing our ability to run a strong cohesive campaign as a party. We are not prepared to let that happen, and accordingly, lodged the application to register One Nation Queensland.
The five sitting One Nation members will be the sponsors for the registration, and an interim executive has been elected by the founding committee. The executive comprises the five Members plus:- Executive Director - Ian Petersen, State Secretary - Heather Hill (left - with family), and State Treasurer - Graeme MacDonald (right). The position of State President has been reserved for Pauline Hanson. In any event, she is still the National President, and it is our intention that One Nation Queensland would be affiliated with the other State organisations and the Federal body.
Again, I would emphasise, we are not in any way attempting to "pre - judge the judgment". To do so would be improper. Our action is purely to ensure that, if an election is called, we will enter the campaign properly registered, and able to afford the people of Queensland the opportunity of supporting us as they have done in the past.
The policies and philosophies are completely unchanged. The determination to continue the outstanding achievements of our MLAs will not waver. We will be preserving the registration status of a party endorsed by the people of Queensland as the second largest in the State in terms of voter support.
We believe that this will stabilise the situation and will allow us to move forward again with confidence towards the next election.
It is our intention that any member wishing to transfer to the new entity would be able to do so at no cost. Membership application forms will be available shortly.
We welcome any enquires and look forward to working with you to continue the fight to achieve a fairer system of government in our Nation, and to return to a society where respect for traditional values is supported and encouraged.
W.Feldman P.Prenzler H.Black D.Dalgleish J.Paff I.Petersen H.Hill
Parliament House Phone: 34067748
The images below were taken during the press conference earlier today:
After the press conference we gathered again on the 9th floor - this time a posed picture between Jack Paff and "whiteant" editor Tony Pitt shaking hands was taken. Paff was nominated as the man behind what Oldfield called a "mutiny" - leading up to the scenario where the Queensland MPs refused to be dictated to be Manly anymore!
Such language Mr Oldfield, such language!
Heather Hill was called into Len Harris' office at 3.45pm this afternoon and fired because of her support for the Queensland MPs decision to move ahead without the two Davids.
An ironic twist when you consider that Heather won the Senate position but handed it over so graciously to Len Harris after the High Court/Chuck Hong fiasco.
More to follow.