Hanson blames staff for One Nation’s electoral breaches

Pauline Hanson has blamed incompetent office workers for One Nation’s breaches of electoral laws in Queensland.

Aug 03, 2017, updated Aug 03, 2017
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson. Photo: AAP/Lukas Coch

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson. Photo: AAP/Lukas Coch

Hanson says her party’s Queensland branch hired office staff who were not up to the job of making sure it satisfied the state’s political disclosure laws.

Those workers have since been sacked and systems improved, she said today.

Breaches included failing to properly disclose party spending, lodge returns on time, and notify donors of their disclosure requirements, according to documents obtained by the ABC under freedom of information.

“I’ve had to pick up the pieces from an organisation that was run incompetently and by people who were not up to doing the job. Since then those people have gone and they’ve been sacked,” Hanson told ABC radio.

In May this year, the Electoral Commission of Queensland wrote to One Nation detailing compliance problems dating back to 2014-15.

They included not lodging returns within set time-frames, failing to notify donors of their disclosure obligations, and failing to disclose expenditure returns.

The ECQ also raised concerns about debts and return expenditure not being supported by documentation.

Hanson says she’s taken control to make sure her party does not run foul of electoral laws.

“I’ve been through all this in the past. Do you think I’m going to allow it to happen to my party again? No way in the world, ” she told the ABC.

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Hanson’s chief of staff James Ashby also blamed the Queensland breaches on “the incompetency of internal staff in 2016”.

He said the ECQ now had a good working relationship with the party, under new office administrator Greg Smith.

In March, Smith wrote to the ECQ seeking more time to disclose 2016 donation details due to computer system upgrades. Later that week he blamed the closure of the party’s office when Cyclone Debbie hit for failing to meet the extended deadline.

On Thursday, Hanson said the cyclone had caused delays, but the information was provided within a matter of days of the time required.

“This is a witch hunt by the ABC,” she said.

The ECQ has verified the details reported by the ABC.

One Nation is currently facing a separate Australian Electoral Commission investigation into whether the party breached disclosure laws by not declaring a Jabiru aircraft used for election campaigning


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