On Wednesday July 15, 2015, One Nation posted on their website an article titled HANSON TAKES HER MAIDEN FLIGHT IN HER NEW PLANE.
Miss Hanson said, “I am proud to announce, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation will be launching their new plane just finished being built by an Australian company last week. The maiden flight will be at the Caloundra airport at 10am followed by the first official flight to Rockhampton this Friday, to attend the Reclaim Australia Rally on Sunday.”
“I am thankful to now have a plane as this will enable me to visit people around the state, and interstate, including those in small remote communities who have never had their representative take the time to visit them.”
Pauline invited the media and public to attend the plane’s unveiling at the Caloundra Airport the next day.
On July 28, 2015, in an article in the ABC Sunshine Coast, James Ashby said he helped Ms Hanson find an Australian-made plane because, “Pauline’s all about keeping things local”. They travel to a political event at least once a week, he said.
On January 16, 2016, The Australian reported One Nation boss Pauline Hanson boasting about her frugality:
Senator Pauline Hanson says she fills her own plane with petrol and drives herself to the airport, parking in the budget carpark and getting a bus to the terminal.
The Queensland senator says she also always travels economy and if she needs to go to remote places she uses her own plane at One Nation’s expense.
“I’ve still got my plane, well the party’s plane, but all the trips I’ve done in that since the election I’ve filled it up myself,” Senator Hanson told Sky News.
On January 18, 2017, Independent Australia revealed that the plane was, in fact, registered to James Ashby personally and was acquired by Ashby on 5 June 2015.
Fast forward to April 2017 and now James Ashby says that the plane is his and he has nothing to hide.
Ashby has told the Huffington Post Australia that the plane, whose funding and ownership was brought into question by a Four Corners investigation, is owned by his company and he regards it as his.
While Ashby has told HuffPost Australia that the plane is privately owned by him, he did not explicitly say where the money came from to purchase the Jabiru.
Regardless, he said “I have done nothing wrong” and stated that all flying hours in the plane used for political purposes have been declared.
When One Nation Treasurer Ian Nelson started questioning James Ashby’s growing control over the party and some questionable reporting practices for donations, he was promptly removed and replaced by Hanson’s brother-in-law Greg Smith. Keep it in the family.
On March 23, 2017, The Australian reported that the Australian Electoral Commission has launched an audit of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, amid revelations of an internal brawl over sensitive documents.
Apart from a $191,000 loan made to the party by senator Pauline Hanson and donations from Melbourne high-rise developer Bill McNee, One Nation has only disclosed a small number of financial gifts. Mr McNee, through his company Vicland, has been one of One Nation’s largest backers, donating $57,720 in 2014-15, and $10,000 leading up to last year’s election.
Senator Hanson was reimbursed for her loan last August, drawn down from a $1.62 million election refund from the AEC.
According to the One Nation site, “Pauline has never given up her fight for Parliament and to represent the Australian people with honesty, integrity and determination for a fair go for all.”
It seems increasingly apparent that honesty and integrity have very little to do with Hanson and Ashby’s grab for cash.
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