Chill out: It's just James Ashby's 'innovative' One Nation merchandising

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Pauline Hanson flying high with James Ashby (screen shot via TEN Eyewitness News video).

There's more to James Ashby's money making ideas than meets the eye. Jim Pembroke takes an amusing look at One Nation's latest "innovative" merchandising.

IN THE LAST FEW DAYS, a lot has been made of Pauline Hanson's controversial chief of staff James Ashby and secret recordings of his ideas to make a few quid, by duping both the Electoral Commission and his own One Nation candidates.  

James (or Jim, can I call you Jamie?) admits he got his words wrong and everyone knows hidden microphones can affect the speech centres of the brain. So, you all need to take a chill pill. 

Sure, he was talking in tongues for ten minutes and maybe Pauline or someone at the brainstorm meeting should have screamed: “Shut the hell up, Jimbo! Go see a speech therapist.”

Nevertheless, we should take him at face value. It was just “a poor choice of words".

In any event, he was only trying to make a few bucks — selling a couple of useless posters to One Nation candidates at inflated prices. This is the sort of "agile", "innovative" thinking Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was talking about. Try to find some morons and sell them awkward portraits of themselves at ridiculous prices. Get them to plaster the zombie images all over the neighbourhood and, when these are stolen or vandalised, make them buy some more. 

If it's not a One Nation IQ test, it's a genuine gold mine. 

I can see the candidates queuing up for Jimmy's next line of merchandise — personalised foam smiley-faces that fit on their car antennas or, everyone's favourite, urinal cakes embossed with the candidate's startled image. Can't wait to see those in Queensland pubs at the next election.

But it's not just about merchandising. There's something sinister behind all those One Nation wannabe images — and I'm not referring to James Ashby.

I'm talking about that hideous corflute. It's that nasty white corrugated plastic stuff that the electoral signs are made of. Those sheets of pure evil will feature prominently in the upcoming battle of the billboards and will be a nice little earner for Jimbo, who also happens to own the printing company supplying the signs — just a coincidence I'm sure, cha-ching!

The only positive thing about this whole #corflutegate saga is how political candidates are encouraged to plonk their signs very close to the road. So, it's just a little swerve and drivers can wipe out the image of their least favourite, minor party candidate, Fast and Furious style.

But it's not the corflute signs that worry James Ashby. Jimbo is more concerned about the illegal secret recordings of his peculiar business ideas. Those tiny microphones are going to have a very sobering effect on future meetings of the One Nation executive. No more lounging around the brainstorming table, sipping taxpayer funded, non-halal Penfolds Grange. And forget about passing around second-hand tokes of medical marijuana — not after what Acapulco Gold did to Jimbo's brainstorming tongue at the last meeting. 

Pauline, James and the rest of the executive will need to be very careful as they enter the conference room next time.Quiet! Shush! 

Pause in the doorway and scan the room for bugging devices. Check to see if anything is out of place. Don't forget to inspect the furniture, under the flower pots and behind Pauline's participation certificate from Dancing with the Stars. Test for any loose screws or wires under the appliances, particularly the Donald Trump Liberty electric lampshade. 

“Okay, the room's clean.” Dick Smith, One Nation's now reluctant, high profile supporter and one-time technology whiz, gives the building the all-clear.

Meanwhile, high above Pauline Hanson's headquarters, a Jabiru 230 circles ominously. For legal reasons, no one claims ownership of this aircraft. Well, technically it's James Ashby's but... well, it's complicated. 

Anyway, the plane is empty and on autopilot. An infrared camera scans the bodies in the room  below. The integrated microphone and control unit receives and analyses every word coming out of the meeting. It  beeps, dings and hums. It zips and clangs but in the end can't make sense of a single word.

Read more from Jim Pembroke on his blog jimselbow.wordpress.com, or follow him on Twitter @Jim_Pembroke.

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