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In Politics, Slush Happens

In Mike Seccombe, The Hanson Affair on December 4, 2012 at 11:37 PM

By Mike Seccombe
Source: The Global Mail
November 29, 2012

26 August 2003

26 August 2003

Extract 1:

Abbott insisted the whole thing was done at his own initiative, and that neither John Howard nor anyone else in the government had been involved.

Said Abbott in our interview: “There was myself and two other trustees. We raised … it may not have been $100,000 but it was certainly close to $100,000 and the job of Australians For Honest Politics was to fund court cases against One Nation.”

He said most of the money had been spent trying, unsuccessfully, to get another One Nation defector, Hanson’s former private secretary Barbara Hazelton, to take legal action to stop the payment of $470,000 in public election funding, following the failure of similar action by Mr Sharples.

There was more to the story. You get the drift, though. And the irony, too, given that Abbott — who set up his slush fund 14 years ago — is now leading the call for the removal of Prime Minister Julia Gillard for her role in setting up a slush fund 20 years ago.

Extract 2:

Abbott’s actions 14 years ago were a manifestation of such internecine nastiness. Let us not forget that Pauline Hanson was a creation of the Liberal Party, which selected her as its candidate for the seat of Oxley in Queensland. Abbott himself was even more deeply involved; he employed the man who would later become Hanson’s Svengali, the egregious David Oldfield. (Just another of those interesting personal associations which mark Abbott’s career, like BA Santamaria, George Pell, Cory Bernardi, et al.)

Then of course the Liberal Party and Abbott got rid of Hanson and Oldfield, but adopted much of the substance of One Nation’s distasteful policies on race issues. Then they set up a slush fund to try to ruin Hanson.

Full Story at the The Global Mail.

Abbott set up slush fund to ruin Hanson

In Mike Seccombe, The Hanson Affair on December 3, 2012 at 9:59 AM

Abbott set up slush fund to ruin Hanson

By Mike Seccombe
Source: SMH
August 26, 2003

26 August 2003

26 August 2003

One of the Howard Government’s most senior ministers last night revealed he raised nearly $100,000 to lay the groundwork for Pauline Hanson’s prosecution for electoral fraud.

The Minister for Workplace Relations, Tony Abbott, admitted setting up a trust, Australians for Honest Politics, from donations to pay for legal actions against Hanson and her party, One Nation.

He had also organised a separate “donor” to support a One Nation dissident, Terry Sharples, in seeking an injunction to block One Nation from receiving public electoral funds.

Mr Abbott said the money was promised to cover Mr Sharples if the case failed and costs were awarded against him.

The minister organised a team of lawyers who would represent Mr Sharples without charge, and then a second team after Mr Sharples sacked the first.

Mr Abbott also acknowledged that he had at one time instructed his lawyers to offer Mr Sharples $10,000 of his own money if he would stop pursuing him for money to cover his huge court costs.

He said he had set up Australians for Honest Politics in 1998 because he believed One Nation was fraudulently registered.

Last week, Hanson and her fellow One Nation founder, David Ettridge, were jailed after the party received nearly $500,000 in electoral funding to which it was not entitled because it had been falsely registered.

The Prime Minister, John Howard, said the sentence was excessive, but Mr Abbott denied that Mr Howard or anyone else in the Government had been involved in the attempt to fund actions against One Nation.

“There was myself and two other trustees. We raised … it may not have been $100,000 but it was certainly close to $100,000 and the job of Australians For Honest Politics was to fund court cases against One Nation.” Mr Abbott did not say who contributed.

He said most of the money had been spent trying to get another One Nation defector, Hanson’s former private secretary Barbara Hazelton, to take legal action to stop the payment of $470,000 in public election funding, following the failure of similar action by Mr Sharples.

Ms Hazelton had decided not to go ahead, Mr Abbott said. “By that stage we’d spent a lot of money and the balance … was distributed back to the donors in proportion to their original contribution.”

He said his $10,000 offer to Mr Sharples was made in light of a disputed agreement between them that Mr Sharples would be covered by an open-ended indemnity for the costs of action against Hanson and One Nation.

Mr Abbott had given, in writing, “my personal guarantee to you that you will not be further out of pocket as a result of this action”.

The minister said he believed that promise covered only the $10,000 guarantee he had arranged, but Mr Sharples thought it applied to any legal action.

“Yes, I did make a commitment to Sharples and yes the commitment was to back him to the tune of $10,000,” he said last night, “that being the maximum downside that we could have expected.”

But after Mr Sharples went on with other action, incurring big bills, and the original guarantor dropped out, Mr Abbott was facing possible personal liability. Read the rest of this entry »