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Senator Pauline Hanson and James Ashby respond to questions over the tape recordings and Hanson's leadership of One Nation (Screenshot via Youtube).

When Pauline passes the presidency baton, one way or another, bet on James Ashby. You’ve been warned, writes Sydney bureau chief Ross Jones.

ONE TINY, TERRIBLE accident to Pauline Hanson – a ladder, say, or maybe a candlestick – will see James Ashby become the undisputed ruler of One Nation.

Hanson has apparently managed to get herself constitutionally enshrined as One Nation’s President for Life, a grand title if there ever was one — il Presidente!

There is no mention of James Ashby in any of the media blurbs, but you can bet he was the Rasputin behind the move.

At an annual general meeting allegedly held last August, the final sword to the pretence of One Nation being a grassroots party was thrust into its heaving bosom.

That’s when, allegedly, it was written into the One Nation constitution that Pauline has the president gig for life, or until she doesn’t want it anymore, whichever comes first.

When she is done with being president, she, and only she, can select who will succeed her confirmed The Guardian:

'The president of the party is Pauline Lee Hanson,' the constitution now states. 'Upon resigning from the position of president, Pauline Lee Hanson shall appoint her successor to become the next president of the party.'

How good is that?

Sounds just like a setup for Midsomer Murders.

Should things get nasty in this respect, of course, the main suspect would be James Ashby. When Pauline does shrug the top position for whatever reason, you can bet the President for Life baton will pass to Ashby.

It’s easy to imagine James might be overjoyed at the prospect of getting hold of such a power-laden inheritance a bit earlier than statistically probable. By, say, a few years.

There is no current evidence Ashby has such intentions, but this is a man capable of doing a lot of things, some not good. Not good at all.

But say, just say, someone else wanted to silence Pauline before she got the chance to anoint Ashby? To stop him in his tracks.

Or, more sinisterly, people we are as yet unaware of want Ashby appointed as soon a possible, because, you know, we can work with him. Pauline, on the other and, is just a self-important harridan.

Then there is whoever spooked Pauline to release her 'if you are seeing me now it means I have been murdered' video. This person would be well in the frame should any unexpected terminal nastiness befall Pauline.

The whole situation is full-Barnaby.

From the ridiculous rococo title of President for Life to the drama of the inheritance, to the total disenfranchisement and complete alienation of everyone associated with One Nation apart from Pauline and James — especially the selected candidates, who in truth are no more than cash cows.

In late 2017, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that:

'Pauline Hanson's One Nation might have failed to win a single seat in the Queensland election, but by one measure their campaign was a resounding success — the party will receive more than $1 million in taxpayer funding, up from just $53,033 at the last state poll.'

In the WA election, it was perhaps even worse. James Ashby was reported to have been heard on tape to claiming the party can “make some money” leading up to the election commission by charging candidates.

One Nation got four senators up in the 2016 Federal election (Burston, Culleton, Roberts and Hanson) but not one of the 15 candidates for the house of reps in QLD or NSW got up. Not even close. And yet, for this effort, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party received $1.62 million from the Australian Electoral Commission.

The One Nation business model is pretty straightforward: candidates pay the costs – including head office costs – and the rest is cream. Good money if you can get it.

One Nation is a political Ponzi scheme. Ordinary, everyday suckers, Mabel or Dave from Nowhere Heads, are appointed candidates and then royally fleeced via the lure of unreachable electoral glory.

As such, it is a natural home for James Ashby who will, maybe sooner rather than later, take full power over the party, if you can call it that. K-Tel MoneyMatic is more like it.

So you can take it to the bank that the second Pauline falls off her perch – and she has not been looking that good on TV for some time – James will step in as the sole One Nation president, a sort of soft, white Idi Amin.

And then shouldn’t everyone watch out!

"He was a very interesting character," the former colleague told The Sunday Telegraph.

"I've worked with some guys whose judgment can be very poor, but James' judgment was worse than poor. He was not stupid, but he was unhinged."

~ Excerpt the Ashbygate book

To all you politicians who still truck with this man — don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Read the book.

Sydney bureau chief Ross Jones is a licensed private enquiry agent the author of 'Ashbygate: The Plot to Destroy Australia's Speaker'. You can follow Ross on Twitter @RPZJones.

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