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Hanson under scrutiny over electoral fund tra -

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Hanson under scrutiny over electoral fund transfer

The World Today - Monday, 28 April , 2008 12:47:00

Reporter: Donna Field

ELEANOR HALL: She was jailed and later cleared of electoral fraud. Now, Pauline Hanson is facing
new scrutiny over the use of electoral funding.

Ms Hanson is accused of transferring more than $200,000 from her United Australia Party's account
into a personal account. The Australian Electoral Commission gave the party the funds after the
last election but it's now being asked to investigate whether the money is in the right hands.

In Brisbane, Donna Field reports.

DONNA FIELD: Last year, Pauline Hanson stepped back into the spotlight launching a new political
party and another tilt at the Senate.

She was unsuccessful but secured enough votes to make her United Australia Party eligible for
electoral funding. The Australian Electoral Commission handed over more than $200,000 in January.

But what's happened with that money is causing concern. It's alleged the funds have been taken from
a party bank account and transferred to another account controlled by Ms Hanson and another member
of the party.

The Special Minister of State John Faulkner says the allegations need to be investigated.

JOHN FAULKNER: They'll certainly ask the Australian Electoral Commission to have a look at the
allegations and investigate them if they're not already doing so.

DONNA FIELD: Senator Faulkner says the Government is working on ensuring that any money claimed
from public funding has to be spent on campaign expenditure.

JOHN FAULKNER: We must close that loop hole in the Commonwealth Electoral Act and I've announced
that the Rudd Government intends to do just that before the end of the next Parliamentary session.

DONNA FIELD: Bruce Whiteside is a member of the United Australia Party. He's been with Ms Hanson
since the beginning, founding the Pauline Hanson Support Movement in the mid-1990s and supporting
her when she was convicted of electoral fraud and jailed in 2003. Those convictions were later
quashed.

He says this latest allegation is concerning.

BRUCE WHITESIDE: I think she's gone a step too far this time but I feel very, very sad about the
people who put their integrity on the line and their finances and their work only to be disregarded
and tossed aside like so much rubbish.

DONNA FIELD: So you feel quite let down?

BRUCE WHITESIDE: Well look over a million people voted for her and I'm quite certain they all feel
the same way about it, because she had marvellous potential very early in the piece and if she'd
stuck with the people instead of getting involved with people who were only interested in their own
agendas and their own way of doing things, she'd have been a power in politics today.

DONNA FIELD: Mr Whiteside says many people have put a lot on the line for the party, including
their own money.

BRUCE WHITESIDE: I think the money should remain there as it is to the party. I mean it's like when
John Howard lost his place; did he walk off with all the finances of the Liberal Party? He
certainly didn't, and we've got to look at this.

DONNA FIELD: And despite his long-term admiration and support, Mr Whiteside says Pauline Hanson may
finally have lost her appeal with him.

BRUCE WHITESIDE: Pauline, I told her many, many years ago. I said, "Don't drop the chalice, the
chalice, the crystal chalice because if you do I said you've lost it." And she's lost people.

I mean when she's lost people like myself and Graham McDonald and John Pasquerale and dozens and
hundreds of others, I mean, you've got to say there's something wrong with Pauline Hanson, there's
something wrong with the woman's character to treat people like that and we feel very hurt by it.

DONNA FIELD: Ms Hanson hasn't responded to The World Today's request for an interview.

ELEANOR HALL: Donna Field in Brisbane with that report.