‘This is not what One Nation supporters voted for’: Party founder slams SA MP

One of the founding members of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation says the party’s first South Australian parliamentarian has ‘Greens values’ that could prompt a split from the party, robbing One Nation voters of “genuine representation” in the state.

May 20, 2022, updated May 20, 2022
One Nation MLC Sarah game (left) has drawn criticism from party co-founder David Ettridge, pictured in 2013.

One Nation MLC Sarah game (left) has drawn criticism from party co-founder David Ettridge, pictured in 2013.

But Legislative Councillor Sarah Game and her mother, state party leader and senate candidate Jennifer Game, have hit back, saying the fledgling MLC doesn’t fit the “media stereotype” of the party’s members, while Hanson herself insists her stated views are “entirely in keeping with One Nation’s policies”.

Sarah Game’s maiden speech this week – and an interview with InDaily last week – suggested a strong shift from the One Nation rhetoric on immigration long espoused by leader Hanson, who formed the party after her initial election in 1996.

While Hanson has controversially claimed Australia is being “swamped” by Asians and Muslims, Game told parliament immigration had “enriched” the nation’s culture and skill base, defending “people’s right to maintain their culture and belief practices in Australia”.

She also took issue with an element of the party’s state election education policy detailed in a 2021 media release – a commitment to scrap the teaching of foreign languages in schools – which was subsequently dumped from the platform.

But her comments drew a sharp response from David Ettridge who, with Hanson and Oldfield, was one of the original founders of the party in 1997 and its primary fundraiser.

In an email contribution to InDaily’s Your Views, Ettridge – who grew up in SA and returned to live here in 2005 – wrote: “It looks like One Nation SA voters have an Upper House representative with Greens values in the SA Parliament.”

“This is NOT what One Nation voters voted for,” he said.

“Hanson won’t like [Game] delivering policies that contradict One Nation party policy [and] if it results in any conflict, we might see Sarah Game becoming an independent.

“If that occurs, One Nation voters will have been robbed of genuine representation of their policies in the SA parliament.”

Ettridge suggested Game’s remarks were “particularly worrying because [her] mother is running for One Nation in the federal Senate and may, like her daughter, have similar values”.

“The apple may not fall far from the tree,” he said.

In response, Jennifer Game told InDaily: “The apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree, but not in the way Mr Etrridge hopes.”

“There’s no difference between what I say and what [Sarah] says,” she said.

“She’s just got a different way of putting things… she doesn’t fit a stereotype – not of our members or the general public – but of the media, who would like to portray members and candidates in a particular way [and] this is very confronting to that stereotype.”

Jennifer Game said she and her daughter “have talked about this issue and she won’t be leaving the party”.

“She’s staying with the party and so am I,” she said.

“It’s her use of language that’s confused people – she talks about immigration that needs to be socially cohesive, in our interests and in a way that unifies… ‘unify’ and ‘integrate’, they’re very close and similar.

“It’s her language – that and her positive way  she’s putting our policies that has people like Mr Ettridge confused.”

One Nation’s platform commits to an extended “zero-net migration policy and focus on permitting only highly skilled migrants from culturally cohesive countries into Australia”.

“Migrants must demonstrate a sound level of English for assimilation purposes,” it says.

On refugees, the party says it “favours Australians first and foremost” and believes “in reducing the refugee intake for five years in an effort to redirect critical funding to Australian services”.

Hanson has also previously called for measures such as a ban on Muslim immigration, a Royal Commission into Islam, a Burqa ban and a motion that “it’s ok to be white”, but these are not included in the policy platform online.

Jennifer Game said Ettridge did not “wish the party in any way any good”.

Ettridge was briefly jailed, along with Hanson, for electoral fraud in 2003, but was freed after their convictions were quashed on appeal.

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Queensland Police eventually determined that no offence had been committed, but Ettridge fell out with the party after it declined to fund his legal defence, the cost of which forced him to sell his house.

Game said her daughter did not support the right of migrants not to integrate but “she supports their right to keep their culture and beliefs”.

“I wouldn’t have anyone in the party who was a racist or a bigot,” she insisted.

“We would terminate people’s membership if there was any sign of people going against a particular group of people…

“My understanding [of the policy platform] is we’re very happy to have people come to Australia so long as they’re going to be loyal to the country and they’re going to contribute.”

She argued this was a mainstream view that was “a concern to the other parties, who want to paint us as a far-Right party, whereas I think we’re a centre-Right party”.

Sarah Game said today: “I’ve absolutely no plans to leave the party.”

“I’m completely committed to all of our pre-election commitments,” she said.

“My understanding is that David Ettridge has absolutely no interest in seeing the success of the One Nation party.”

She backed her mother’s view that she was “going against the media stereotype of One Nation, rather than actually going against One Nation policy”.

However, she suggested she would not support a ban on any race or religion entering Australia.

“I don’t discriminate like that, so [I’d welcome] anyone of any culture or belief who would like to be part of our society, if that can be done in a cohesive way,” she said.

“I don’t think there’s any contradiction between cohesion and sustainability… if migration’s going to be positive for South Australians here, I’d support it [but not] if it’s going to cause strain because we haven’t got the proper infrastructure or housing.”

Hanson, who was forced into isolation yesterday after contracting COVID-19, said in a statement: “I congratulate Sarah Game on delivering her maiden speech as the first One Nation member of the Parliament of South Australia.”

“I’m delighted that our party and our supporters in South Australia have such an articulate, intelligent and hard-working woman representing them.

“Regardless of what other people say about her comments on genuine refugees and sustainable and cohesive immigration, Sarah’s remarks are entirely in keeping with One Nation’s policies which are available on our website for all to see.

“We have no problem with genuine refugees and have supported the intake of refugees who assisted Australian forces in Afghanistan – our policy is to reduce the refugee intake for five years. We want immigration lowered to sustainable levels, and we want a focus on highly skilled migrants from culturally cohesive countries.

“One Nation is well and truly back in South Australia and we’ll be building on this support at this Federal election.”

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