November 06, 2003 | Graham

Saved by her own incompetence

Pauline Hanson has been acquitted, which puts my essay in On Line Opinion in an entirely different light. I have only quickly read the judgement, but in summary it finds that while Hanson may not have thought that people signing up to join her supporter’s group were in fact joining the party, it is arguable, at least to the standard of proof required in criminal trials, that some of those had. As a result, while she submitted a list of names to the electoral commissioner which she may have thought were not members of the party, they in fact were.
So we are presented with the situation where Hanson’s conviction is quashed not because of her intentions, but because she was too incompetent to put them into effect!
One of the side-effects will be that she receives an economic windfall. The electoral commissioner will have to refund her repayment of the $500,000 she originally received. On the not unreasonable assumption that the people who donated these funds to help out don’t want them back, Hanson’s One Nation will be one of the richest political parties in Queensland, ready to saddle up for the election next year and front up for another windfall from public funding.
Another side-effect is that it leaves those of her supporters suggesting she was a political prisoner looking ridiculous. The law followed its due process, although this did not stop Chief Justice de Jersey taking a swipe both at the adequacy of the funding of the Department of Public Prosecutions (who he believes shouldn’t have brought the case) and the solicitor who represented Hanson at the first trial (who he infers did not do as well as a barrister might have). His colleague Justice Mc Murdo criticises those politicians who suggested the process was political or wrong, while patting Alexander Downer and Peter Costello on the back for their restraint.
Stay posted for more. This is just the sort of thing the OLO Blogs are meant to cover.

Posted by Graham at 6:43 pm | Comments Off on Saved by her own incompetence |
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