Four Corners reveals deals, Bundy One Nation candidates hide
"PLEASE explain?" was the question Pauline Hanson asked early in her political career and now it's the question voters are asking about "secret deals" within One Nation.
The question comes after Monday night's Four Corners TV program reported on claims of deals between One Nation and the LNP.
The program aired what it said was a recording of Pauline Hanson's chief of staff, James Ashby, saying he'd struck a deal with LNP leader Tim Nicholls' chief of staff for the two conservative parties to rein in attacks on each other.
The recording was of Mr Ashby telling a group of Queensland PHON candidates, which may have included Bundaberg candidate Jane Truscott and Burnett candidate Ashley Lynch, he had one job and that was to get the party elected.
He said he would do what it took to make sure it happened.
"I don't give a rat's arse what you think of me, I am here to do a job and that job is to get you elected," he said.
"And to get the party into the position where it's either in opposition or in government."
He went on to say he had received a phone call from Tim Nicholls' chief of staff and had struck a deal with him.
"I have an agreement with the Liberal National Party, I've made a commitment to them ... that we will not go out there and slag them off for the sake of slagging them off," he said in the secretly recorded phone conversation.
"I also kindly reminded him if they chose to change that agreement, we have plenty of ammunition on their candidates, which made him pull his head in a little bit."
Mr Ashby also told the candidates Ms Hanson was watching them all closely and they were not allowed to speak with media unless they had consulted with him or her first.
The NewsMail asked for comment from both Ms Truscott and Mr Lynch yesterday but emails and phone calls weren't returned by deadline.
The NewsMail also asked LNP Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett and candidate David Batt about the deal.
Both, with leader Tim Nicholls, denied any deal with Pauline Hanson's One Nation.
Mr Bennett said he watched the show and said it reinforced that One Nation didn't have the answers to people's problems.
"Clearly One Nation has many internal problems of its own," he said.
"It's clear the LNP is the only conservative party that can fix Labor's mess.
"Queenslanders know that if they vote for a minor party they will return a do-nothing Labor Government. Already One Nation has voted with the Labor Government - you can't get a clearer example than that."
Mr Nicholls said no conversation had ever taken place.
"My chief of staff has never met and doesn't even know James Ashby," Mr Nicholls said.
"As I have said consistently, the LNP will not be entering into a coalition with One Nation and there are no deals to be done."
He said the party's focus right now was to support Queenslanders affected after the devastation of Cyclone Debbie.
Mr Batt said he had seen reports on the episode and said his focus remained on Bundaberg and not One Nations antics.
"It's up to One Nation to comment on how they're funded and how they're buying aeroplanes and justify how they treat people," he said.
"There is no deal with One Nation and Tim is correct - the claim is 'absolute crap'."
Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson said she thought Mr Nicholls and the LNP were trying to get One Nation voters to support their job cuts and asset sales, and "I think Bundaberg people are smart enough to see right through that".
"Obviously the LNP have been more focused on tricky preference deals with One Nation, not creating jobs here in Bundaberg," she said.
When asked if Labor had done any polling about the strength of Pauline Hanson's One Nation in Bundaberg, she wouldn't speculate on election results but was proud of her record of representing Bundaberg and delivering for the community.
The current affairs program also spoke with Elise Cottam, who ran as a One Nation candidate for a short time earlier this year before being disendorsed for not paying campaign fees on time.
Ms Cottam told the program she was pushed from the party after questioning fees and costs of printing material, which was to be done only by Mr Ashby's printing company.
She found being a One Nation candidate was a costly exercise as the quoted price for business cards and cor-flutes was $1500 more than a local company.