Friday, June 14, 2013

Jailing a political candidate because you fear him or her is unAustralian

Tuff     I don't think a book about Australian politics is going to fly off the shelves. What were you thinking?

Ann     Well Tuff, I was appalled when Pauline Hanson was jailed to stop her from ruining the Liberal  party's election hopes and ...

Tuff     Poor cow! I know what she went through. I still have nightmares about the time I spent in prison.

Ann     Quite. Like you, Ms Hanson was the victim of a terrible injustice. In fact I believe her arrest and conviction was a shameful incident in Australia's history.

 Tuff     So you admire this Hanson woman?

Ann     That's not the point. Love her or loathe her there is no getting away from the fact that the plot to break Pauline Hanson was worthy of Francis Underwood of House of Cards at his most machivellian.

Tuff    I've never heard of her.

Ann I know you've lived in the UK for a long time Tuff, so to bring you up to speed -- a politically naive fish and chip shop operator cum politician from Queensland was damaging the Liberal Party's chances at the forthcoming Federal Election. Her party, One Nation was perceived as a threat by the major parties. And come hell or high water the powers-that- be were out to get her.

Tuff     What happened?

Ann     When vicious attacks on her character didn't put a dent in popularity steps were taken to remove her. Pauline was convicted of electoral fraud and sentenced to nine years in jail. After serving three months she was released, the sentence quashed and her name cleared. And yet instead of being viewed as a victim of a terrible injustice, Pauline Hanson who conducted herself with dignity and heroism throughout her ordeal is perceived by many as a figure of fun.

Tuff     I didn't get any sympathy when I was jailed either, even though I was innocent. Most people thought I got what I deserved.

Ann    That's what's so awful about a smear campaign. I wrote Salvation Jane to make the point that publishing  material and using the legal system to injure a candidate's reputation to cause him or her to lose office is undemocratic. In essence, the means justifying  the end isn't a justifiable excuse for thuggery.

Tuff    I've known a few thugs in my time ... where can I get a copy?

Ann    All the details are on my website. http//

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