Pauline Hanson with the plane One Nation plane with party logo and a caricature of Senator Hanson, flown by James Ashby. Picture: Supplied One Nation
Pauline Hanson with the plane One Nation plane with party logo and a caricature of Senator Hanson, flown by James Ashby. Picture: Supplied One Nation

Hanson staffer under investigation

PAULINE Hanson's chief of staff James Ashby is reportedly under investigation for flying her around Queensland during the 2016 election campaign without a proper pilot's licence.

It's understood the Civil Aviation Safety Authority has launched an investigation into Mr Ashby's use of the Jabiru J230 during the campaign after he boasted about flying her "wherever she wants to go".

The ABC reports Mr Ashby could face fines or lose his licence if found guilty.

It's understood the political staffer holds a recreational pilot's licence and the plane is only registered as a recreational aircraft, which means it cannot be flown for commercial purposes or in the controlled airspace above major airports.

Mr Ashby has told the ABC the investigation is a "political witch hunt".

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and her chief of staff James Ashby pose for a photograph in Birdsville. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson and her chief of staff James Ashby pose for a photograph in Birdsville. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England

"I will comply with CASA's request for documents, however this is just a further waste of taxpayers' money where their findings will result in the same outcome as previous investigations," he said.

CASA has not confirmed if it is investigating Mr Ashby.

But the authority reportedly seized a radio interview yesterday that the staffer gave in 2015 where he spoke about flying Senator Hanson around Queensland in the plane plastered with One Nation branding and her image.

"I've made that commitment to her that I will fly her wherever she wants to go," he told ABC Sunshine Coast.

Pauline Hanson and adviser James Ashby arriving at Brisbane airport following the West Australian State election. Photographer: Liam Kidston.
Pauline Hanson and adviser James Ashby arriving at Brisbane airport following the West Australian State election. Photographer: Liam Kidston.

"We're off every weekend at the very least, we pick a spot, there's guest appearances, general invites that she wants to be a part of. We just jump in the plane.

"It's a Jabiru J230 … we've got it licensed as a light sport aircraft, it's two seats."

The ownership of the plane is subject to a separate investigation by the Australian Electoral Commission, after claims it was donated to One Nation by businessman Bill McNee.


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