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Adviser to Pauline Hanson says he has not hijacked One Nation and that politics is a grubby business.



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JOHN HIGHFIELD: As Matt Peacock, our political correspondent, mentioned in our lead story today, One Nation, which has split the Coalition vote and broken traditional political alliances, is showing signs of strain within itself.  An insider’s account from Barbara Hazelton, Pauline Hanson’s secretary and close friend for the past two years, paints a picture of One Nation as a deeply-divided party, riven by personal animosities and professional rivalries.  Barbara Hazelton points to policy adviser, David Oldfield, as the chief villain, accusing him of hijacking One Nation and exerting overwhelming influence on Mrs Hanson.  This morning, I spoke to him about those claims.

 

Mr Oldfield, let me begin with a quote from Barbara Hazelton’s letter, the open letter to The Australian .  She says people need to know that One Nation has been hijacked and that people are being hoodwinked if they think that Pauline Hanson is still in control.  Is she right?

 

DAVID OLDFIELD:  No, she’s completely wrong and, firstly, you can’t hijack something that you were there with from the beginning anyway.  I mean, I was there at the very beginning.  Now, I was one of the people who, with Pauline, decided on the name of the organisation and how it would be structured.  So I’m not a hijacker, I am one of the founders following her as the leader.

 

JOHN HIGHFIELD: Another direct quote from Barbara Hazelton:  about four weeks ago, she said she was talking with Pauline Hanson and she told you and Mrs Hanson that many people were telling you they wished you were the One Nation leader.  Do people tell you that?

 

DAVID OLDFIELD:  There may be one or two people who think that, but there are hundreds of thousands who don’t, and I’m one of the hundreds of thousands.  Pauline Hanson is the leader of One Nation and that’s how it will stay.  I have no aspiration, no desire, nor is it possible, and no one knows that more than me.

 

JOHN HIGHFIELD: You do believe, though, that you have the capacities to be a political leader?

 

DAVID OLDFIELD:  I believe I have the capacities to be involved in politics.  I don’t see myself as a political leader.

 

JOHN HIGHFIELD: Are you a dissembler in some senses?

 

DAVID OLDFIELD:  What, sorry?

 

JOHN HIGHFIELD: A dissembler.  People have said working with you in politics is a very frustrating thing.

 

DAVID OLDFIELD:  Oh, I think politics is a very frustrating thing, and perhaps some people are not meant to work in politics.  I’d rather not work in it myself, to be frank.

 

JOHN HIGHFIELD: You would rather not work in politics, but you’re deeply involved in it.

 

DAVID OLDFIELD:  That’s exactly right.  Sometimes you have to do things that you don’t like doing.

 

JOHN HIGHFIELD: Why wouldn’t you like working in something that you are working in?

 

DAVID OLDFIELD:  Because it’s an awful, grubby business;  it’s a terrible, terrible business and it’s filled with people who tell lies and people who have nothing but personal agendas, and it’s an awful grubby business, and I don’t like it, but unfortunately it’s a business that you have to be involved in if you’re going to try and bring about some change and you have to be involved in if you're going to fight those awful other grubby people that are in it.

 

JOHN HIGHFIELD: So that is the way you work in politics as well?

 

DAVID OLDFIELD:  No, it’s not, and I think it’s quite clear I don’t work that way.  I am very straight, I say what I think, I mean what I say, and I am on the record everywhere as clearly being like that.

 

JOHN HIGHFIELD: So why do you think that so many people who have been involved with you at politics, at State level, at local council level in the Manly area of Sydney, all come up with the same criticism?

 

DAVID OLDFIELD:  Oh, I don’t know that they come up with the same criticism at all, but I would suggest that what you do is you should speak to a couple of my friends instead of just speaking to my enemies.

 

JOHN HIGHFIELD: Even those who have been closely aligned with you in politics, they say you are a person that can’t be trusted and you have an overweening ambition.

 

DAVID OLDFIELD:  That’s a disgrace that anyone would say I can’t be trusted.  I am an extremely trustworthy person and I’m not going to beat my own chest and blow my own trumpet any more than to say that.  As I said to you, speak to some of my friends, not people who claim to have once been aligned with me;  speak to people who know me well that are my friends - at least one or two of them - instead of getting together a passel of people who are simply my enemies and have clear-cut motivation in saying whatever they can that’s nasty.

 

JOHN HIGHFIELD: How badly damaged do you think One Nation is by revelations like this coming out from people?

 

DAVID OLDFIELD:  I don’t think we’re damaged at all.  This is just another one of those things that people say. There’s no truth in any of it.  You have simply a very, very petty, very jealous woman who is concerned at the fact that she doesn’t have any influence, rather than who has.  I mean, this is an example of the worst possible traits of human beings and, really, you know, Pauline is not very happy about the fact that someone who pretended for so long to be her friend is now coming out and attacking her, because that’s what she’s doing.  You can’t attack me, you can’t attack David Ettridge, you can’t attack One Nation and not attack Pauline Hanson personally.  And if Barbara Hazelton thinks that she can do that, then she’s very foolish.  I suggest to you that she is attacking Pauline Hanson whilst pretending to be her friend.  That’s clear-cut and there’s nothing more to it.

 

JOHN HIGHFIELD: The perils for Pauline and One Nation.  I was speaking to David Oldfield this morning.