There is one event which I will reflect on here. It involves money and raises some disturbing questions. For many months after the launch of the party I worked on the One Nation web pages on a voluntary basis. I was happy to do so as I had been told that the party was extremely short of funds.
In June 1997 Ettridge asked me to courier some documents down to Manly saying
that I would be reimbursed for the costs. Days later I received a cheque
drawn on Pauline Hansons (sic) One Nation signed by David Ettridge (alone).
The cheque #1120 was dated 24th June 1997 and made out for $39.40 - the costs
I had incurred.
It was not a lot of money but I phoned up Ettridge on receiving the cheque and thanked him for sending it, asking whether the party could afford to make such payments or whether he would rather I did not bank it. Ettridge said that he would appreciate it if I would not bank it as One Nation was (as always) short of funds. It was only in December 1999 after I had resigned as the party's webmaster that I happened to see a statement of cheques drawn by One Nation during this period. Extracts from the cheque stubs for One Nation listed below during the same month of June 1997 - reflect a rather disturbing picture - when you consider that only Ettridge's signature was required to issue a cheque and he was informing members that the party was "strapped for funds":
Schedule of payments drawn by Ettridge and Champions in June 1997
Total drawn by Ettridge and his company Champions Magazine Pty Ltd from One Nation's account during June 1997: $26,181.10
Much of this money drawn from One Nation was used to launch his failed magazine "The Magazine for Champions" .
I never banked the cheque, it is now framed and sits above my desk as a constant reminder of how the party's National Director operated.
Manly office's own records at this time also reflect an astounding number of payments being made where no receipt was held - documentation from Ron Targett, the company's accountant, reflects this fact. Thousands of dollars in expenses were paid out to Champions in this manner under Ettridge's signature.
Ettridge's letter to branches:
In a letter to branches dated 10th January 1998 Ettridge was to tell branches, One false assumption led to another false assumption and the ultimate lie resulted. The media reported that I earned $125,000 last year - clearly an attempt to discredit One Nation on the assertion that perhaps I should work for nothing and to discourage support and donations. I feel that as supporters you should know the truth. In 1997 I worked on One Nation matters for 5 months before I drew my first wage cheque in June. For the whole of the 1997 calendar year I drew $41,518... People with similar responsibilities earn well above $100,000 p.a. with cars supplied.
One Nation cash linked to teen mag
The Courier-Mail Saturday, 30th September 2000
Former One Nation director, David Ettridge, drew $26,181.10 in eight separate cheques on the One Nation account in a month to launch his private magazine, a new book says.
Mr Ettridge has claimed he earned $41,518 before tax in 1997 from One Nation and has angrily denied taking more.
The individual amounts are listed in "INSIDE ONE NATION" a book on that party's secret inner workings by former party webmaster Scott Balson, to be launched on Wednesday.
According to Mr Balson, the numbered cheque stubs are proof Mr Ettridge and his private company, Champions Magazine Pty Ltd, which was producing a teenage motivational magazine, had benefited from One Nation accounts at a time the party was strapped for funds.
Mr Balson said documents also indicated One Nation resources and staff were used to launch the magazine.
He said the June payments had occurred just four months after Mr Ettridge used the names of world-class athletes, including Olympic star Cathy Freeman, at a One Nation committee meeting in February 1997 to win party support for Champions.
But Mr Ettridge said yesterday the drawings represented only his One Nation income from February, when he started working for the party.
"There was no money to pay me, in fact I was funding the party in those early two or three months out of my pocket, and much of it was compensation for me paying the rent, paying wages, and buying the first computer, and setting the office up," he said.
Mr Balson's website yesterday detailed the One Nation accounts.
In another development, Pauline Hanson was under fire yesterday over an apparent discrepancy in her declaration of donations and expenses to the Australian Electoral Commission after she ran for the federal seat of Blair in 1998.
In her candidate return she claims expenses of just $8,105.28, but party sources said she claimed a $75,000 reimbursement from One Nation for the same campaign.
It is understood Mr Ettridge only agreed to reimburse her about $12,500 and then wrote to Ms Hanson asking her for more information but did not get a reply.
Mr Ettridge would not comment on the reimbursement, but said Ms Hanson had not forwarded to the party donations totalling $75,284.87 from 497 donors declared in her candidate return to the AEC.
Ms Hanson described the claims over Blair expenses as "garbage".
She refused to comment on whether she had forwarded only just over half the $470,000 fighting fund donations she allegedly received from the public to the Electoral Commission of Queensland.
ECQ commissioner Des O'Shea said she reimbursed him only $250,000 of $502,000 she currently owes.