Ex-Gympie One Nation MP outs Hanson on conspiracy theory
CONSPIRACY theories about the Port Arthur massacre are central to the One Nation world view and it is about time Pauline Hanson owned up about it, Ms Hanson's former Gympie protege, Elisa Roberts said yesterday.
In an exclusive interview with The Gympie Times, the ex-One Nation Gympie MP revealed the hostility she says she experienced, including from Ms Hanson, for refusing to support extremist theories.
"What everyone is saying (about One Nation and the Port Arthur conspiracy theory) is true,” Ms Roberts said.
"I remember when I was first pre-selected, they were talking about it all the time.
"People would say that when you get in you are going to have to do something to inquire into Port Arthur.
"I said, but you are going to lose your credibility. Whether you like John Howard or not, he is not a mass murderer.
"What people don't know is that they then tried to disendorse me, but it was too late.
"That's why I didn't hear from Pauline, or my campaign manager, even on the night I was elected.”
It was an unexpected snub for the woman who had just stolen a traditionally safe seat from the Nationals, later retaining it as an Independent.
"I did the right thing and stayed with One Nation for 12 months, because (that was how) I was elected.
"As regards Port Arthur, seriously I never believed it and I said so. There is no way John Howard could be so callous as to do something like that just to get legislation through. That's why they never had mainstream support. I told them their credibility was shot.
"I was very unpopular within the party.
"Hand on heart, dead set, that was their version. They were adamant, that was their political theory.
"If you're going to have these beliefs and get conspiracy theorists to back you, you should stand up and say so.
"Most people don't know, but Pauline, she's believed it all along,” Ms Roberts said.
Former One Nation official and Gympie Region councillor Ian Petersen remembered it differently, saying conspiracy theorists were a small minority.
He said he left One Nation because he felt members and Pauline Hanson were being sidelined by Ms Hanson's advisers.
"When we triedto take her with us, she just ranted and so we decided to leave her as well.”
Mr Petersen later helped form the City Country Alliance and became a senior official with the breakaway party.
"There was never anything in official Pauline Hanson policy or philosophy about conspiracy theories regarding Port Arthur, but I know some individual members, the odd one, had such views - very few though, one or two that I'm aware of.
"I don't know if it was a bigger proportion of the membership than it was of the general population,” he said yesterday.