Anning, Hanson and the law

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Senators Fraser Anning and Pauline Hanson in happier times (Screenshot via YouTube)

IA brings you exclusive coverage from the Queensland Magistrate's Court, where Senator Fraser Anning is defending a lawsuit filed by Senator Pauline Hanson alleging a breach of copyright.

BARRISTER: How did you come to notice Fraser Anning’s book?

HANSON: I received it as a gift from Senator Anning — as a Christmas gift, last December.

BARRISTER: And what caused your alarm bells to ring?

HANSON: The title, Wise Words of Wisdom, by Fraser Anning. Very similar to my own, Wise Words: The Wisdom of Pauline Hanson.

BARRISTER: Yes, yes, I see. And did anything else cause you concern?

HANSON: Yes. Several points. It was printed by the same printing company. James Ashby Printers. The biography notes were very similar, highlighting his connection to One Nation, his high profile in right-wing, anti-immigration, pro-white circles and his Queensland roots. Same as my own.

Plus the content.

BARRISTER: And what was that? Any key phrases in particular?

HANSON: Its complete text — page for page, same as mine.

BARRISTER: That’s astounding. Please explain.

HANSON: Flick through my book, Wise Words: The Wisdom of Pauline Hanson. You notice every page is blank. See?

Hanson flicks through her book.

HANSON: Blank. Blank. Blank. Nothing. Not one word.

BARRISTER: And Fraser Anning’s book? Wise Words of Wisdom?

HANSON: I have a copy here — have a look.

Hanson flicks through Anning's book.

HANSON: Blank. Blank. Blank. Not a word!

BARRISTER: Yes, I see. Thank you. That will be all.

Senator Fraser Anning is called to the stand for cross-examination by Hanson's lawyer.

BARRISTER: Can you see the similarities?


BARRISTER: Okay. Your title, Wise Words of Wisdom?

ANNING: It’s my right to title my book with any words I choose.

BARRISTER: Despite its similarity to Pauline Hanson’s book?

ANNING: Haven’t you heard of the concept of "freedom of speech"? Well, I can tell you, it stretches to book titles too. It is my right and I will defend my right.

BARRISTER: That’s well and good, but how can you explain a text that matches Hanson’s page for page?

ANNING: Coincidence. Nothing more. Hanson’s book is all about herself. Mine is not even about me. In fact, it has nothing to do with me.

BARRISTER: Really? You’re kidding, aren’t you?

ANNING: No, I’m not. I love comedy. I have a passion for comedy and I am quite a student of comedy. Especially the earlier British comedians. Tony Hancock. Eric Sykes. Peter Sellers. Spike Milligan. Tommy Cooper. And my favourite of all, Norman Wisdom.

BARRISTER: Please go on.

ANNING: I am even seriously contemplating a career in comedy if things don’t pan out well for me at the next election.

I read up on all things Norman Wisdom. His career, his quotes, films and so on, and voila, I decided to pen a book exclusively using what I regarded were the wise words of Norman Wisdom. The result is there for you to see.

BARRISTER: Do you seriously expect us to believe that load of rubbish?

ANNING: It is not my fault Norman Wisdom did not say anything particularly wise. Funny, yes. Wise, no. Hence the blank pages.

BARRISTER: How do you explain it has exactly the same number of pages as Pauline Hanson’s book?

ANNING: I realised, for the sake of potential sales, it had to be of a certain length and James Ashby informed me of the size of Pauline’s book. I said, "Right. Make mine as thick as Pauline’s.”

BARRISTER: That’s it? Is there any more?

ANNING: Yes. I’m thinking of putting out a cookbook. I’ve heard they sell well in Australia. That should help to show I have ideas of my own and have no need to intrude on Pauline’s intellectual property.

BARRISTER: Yes. And what will this one be called?

ANNING: You Have to Break an Egg to Do Something Useful with it.

Rocky Dabscheck is a musician/songwriter and front person for Rocky and The Two Bob Millionaires. He is also the author of 'The (Real) Meaning of Life' and 'Stoney Broke and the Hi-Spenders'.

You can purchase Rocky's books, 'The (Real) Meaning of Life'  here and 'Stoney Broke and the High Spenders' from the IA store here. The CD '42/68', by Rocky and the Two Bob Millionaires is also available from the IA store here.

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