Parliament Resumes For First Sitting Week Following Federal Election
Parliament Resumes For First Sitting Week Following Federal Election

Pauline Hanson ripped: ‘She’s got no idea’

If anyone knows what it's like to be up close with Pauline Hanson, it's David Oldfield.

The controversial Liberal-politician-turned-One-Nation-founder-turned-media-commentator was crucial to One Nation's establishment in 1997, and Senator Hanson's subsequent political success.

But now Oldfield, who has published a new memoir called Before You Judge Me, tells news.com.au that Senator Hanson was absolutely hopeless in the role, warning those who see the right wing politician as a "saviour" that she has "got no idea".

'PAULINE IS NO SAVIOUR OF AUSTRALIA'

After Senator Hanson won the lower house seat of Oxley as an independent in 1996, Oldfield left the Liberal Party and joined her staff.

Oldfield, who initially worked for Tony Abbott, said he left the Liberal Party because it "wasn't pursuing what I believed".

"I ended up with Pauline Hanson because that provided me an opportunity to speak out on things I felt were important to Australia," Oldfield told news.com.au.

The pair met at a Canberra restaurant on the night of her infamous maiden speech, and began working together shortly after.

 

David Oldfield has unleashed on Pauline Hanson in his new book, Before You Judge Me.
David Oldfield has unleashed on Pauline Hanson in his new book, Before You Judge Me.

But Oldfield says he soon found working with Senator Hanson to be a gruelling task in itself, describing her as someone who was "not very bright" and "really didn't have a clue". Today, there is no scandal associated with her that he finds too shocking.

Earlier this year, when an Al Jazeera investigation revealed footage of Senator Hanson suggesting the Port Arthur massacre was a hoax, he says he wasn't the least bit surprised by her perceived ignorance.

"People who subscribe to Pauline Hanson as some kind of saviour of Australia don't understand that Pauline has no expertise of any kind on any subject," he said. "So you can't ever be surprised by what she says, because she has no idea. Guns is just another example of that."

 

Pauline Hanson and David Oldfield pictured together in 1998.
Pauline Hanson and David Oldfield pictured together in 1998.

In the book, he says One Nation supporters are getting a distorted version of the senator. "The real Pauline isn't at all what those who vote for her see, rather, it is as if they have invented a persona that suits their own beliefs and then projected that onto Pauline," he writes.

"She doesn't represent what they think she does and isn't even trying to do anything they'd like her to get done."

Oldfield is doubtful she would have sustained a career in politics without his help. "It's hard to know where she personally would have been, but One Nation never would have been formed," he told news.com.au.

"There was never going to be a party. That 100 per cent came from me. Pauline Hanson was against it, and everybody was advising her against it.

"There was a Pauline Hanson support movement with thousands across the country at the time, and they were all opposed to her starting a party. They fought every step of the way to stop it, because they thought it would just descend into something like Liberal or Labor.

"They thought that by being a movement it was somehow clear of the dirt of party politics. What they didn't understand was the necessity of having a party name."

 

Oldfield says those who voted for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation may end up bitterly disappointed.
Oldfield says those who voted for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation may end up bitterly disappointed.

Senator Hanson is often credited with speaking her mind and without a "filter". The party's slogan in this year's federal election was, "We've got the guts to say what you're thinking".

But Oldfield says this ultimately means nothing if you don't understand what you're saying.

"Just because you speak your mind doesn't automatically mean you know what you're talking about. She's implanted with a series of lines without understanding how any of it works," he said.

"What is abundantly clear is Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party had its greatest successes in regards to voter support in 1998 and not since. So the people who were running it in 1998 must have had a reasonable idea of what was happening compared to those since. The one person who stayed there and presided over it since is Pauline.

"Pauline complains about everyone letting her down, but she's the one who lacks common sense and stability, political understanding, marketing understanding and electorate understanding."

Oldman revealed that while Senator Hanson was extremely reluctant to start the party, he went to great lengths to talk her into it. He also claimed she didn't want to be personally associated with it, and was against branding it with her name.

Ultimately, he says he despairs on behalf of those who voted for her party. "I've agonised for a long time on behalf of people who believe Pauline will achieve something for them. It saddens me immensely that they too will go to their graves disappointed."

THE COMMENT THAT GOT OLDFIELD FIRED

As well as unloading on Senator Hanson, Oldfield also reflected on some of his own biggest controversies.

In May 2010, after just three shifts working as a presenter on talk back radio station 2UE, Oldfield was stood down over a comment he made about "frying" asylum seekers on an electric fence.

Speaking on live radio, he suggested the Coalition ought to adopt a policy of turning on electric fences at the Christmas Island detention centre so that anyone trying to escape would "fry".

"It's not a whole lot of waffle, and excuses, and buck-passing to colleagues and everything else. He should have just said: 'Yes. We'll turn on the electric fences, we'll stop them from coming, and the ones that are here: we'll make sure they can't escape, and if they do try it, they'll be fried,'" Oldfield said.

2UE suspended him and he was forced to make an on-air apology.

"While I maintain security measures should be tightened at our detention centres - and I stand by those comments - some of my words yesterday and my delivery were inappropriate," he said at the time.

"I sincerely apologise for my poor choice of language and as result of my poorly considered comments 2UE management has suspended me, and I hope to join you on air on some time in the near future."

 

Former 2UE presenter David Oldfield
Former 2UE presenter David Oldfield

Addressing the controversial remark now, Oldfield claims he was misunderstood. "I think the main misunderstanding was that most people who took umbrage didn't realise the fences were already electrified," he said.

"That was a deterrent to people trying to escape - and people weren't supposed to escape. I was merely suggesting that if they were, that would deter people from being electrocuted."

In the book, he writes about aspects of his life that have changed. A notable example was his attitude towards hunting and shooting, which he enjoyed growing up, but is now personally opposed to and does not wish to pass on to his children.

But on politics - including his controversial remarks about multiculturalism and asylum seekers - Oldfield remains adamant.

"I don't believe you can just turn up on someone's doorstep. When you're fleeing for your life, that to me … makes you a refugee. If you're fleeing the country because it isn't economically sound … that's not something I believe in," he said.

Ultimately, he says his remarks on immigration and his time with One Nation are just small aspects of his life. "The book is about fact and truth - no lies or embellishment. I don't make any statements about my greatness in the book," Oldfield added.

Before You Judge Me - Being David RRP $29.99 is available from all major book retailers or online at http://www.newhollandpublishers.com


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