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.
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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