March 24, 2007
The Canberra Times

Strange bedfellows: the perils of Pauline’s kiss-and-tell prose

The indignity of it all – sex revealed, only to be strenuously snatched away. ”I did not have sex with that woman,” bellowed David Oldfield this week.

”He would say that wouldn’t he?” shot back a chin-jutting Pauline Hanson.

Well, yes. But Oldfield, warming to his star-chamber moment, notched up the Clintonesque theatrics, ”And Pauline does not have a dress or anything else that I left a stain of mine on”. Silly David. He forgot about the stain on Hanson’s angry heart.

Scorned maybe, but Hanson isn’t finished with us yet. Or Oldfield for that matter: nor Tony Abbott, John Howard, or John Pasquarelli.

As pivotal players in her rollercoaster political life, they all get their own chapter in what’s promising to be a pulsating page- turner of an autobiography. With the delicious title of Untamed and Unashamed, Hanson’s kiss-and- tell tome will be launched next Thursday with the help of her mega- mouth buddy, Alan Jones.

Although his own recent brush with biography was less than sweet, and the sex less than dignified, he’s nevertheless happy to flog Hanson’s – because she wrote it herself.

If there is any doubt about the authorship, a quick scan of the extract published last weekend is proof only Pauline could have written this stuff. Who else could come up with such literary cadence as, ”I made my way to a toilet. I could no longer contain my need to vomit”?

Then later, this insight that plunders the depths of a giddy soul, ”Inside me was a tossing mixture of happiness, excitement and surprise.”

While she makes romance sound like a nicoise without the egg, I think it fair to say no self-respecting ghost writer could have had a hand in this. That said, it’s compelling reading. In print, just like in person, Hanson makes you want to stare.

Fortunately – or not – depending on your enjoyment of salacious detail, Hanson’s distaste for the politically correct has ensured she certainly hasn’t been. There is no hiding behind the high brow here. Pauline Hanson is no Cheryl Kernot. She is in no mood for denial and is sick of secrets.

Oldfield has accused her of making up ”salacious and gossipy lies”. His handsome TV presenter wife Lisa, told a studio audience this week that Hanson has an unhealthy obsession with her husband and that she was ”like some crazy estranged aunt”.

Oldfield met and married his wife years after the alleged sexual liason with Hanson.

Nevertheless, Lisa is firmly standing by her man, suggesting Hanson is ”delusional” and behaving like Glenn Close with a ”fatal attraction”.

But if Pauline – ”I don’t write or tell lies” – Hanson is to be believed, it was Oldfield who came knocking on her door with food and wine in hand, and seduction in mind. It was late 1996, soon after the red-haired fireball gave her gobsmaking maiden speech in Parliament that damned Asians, Aborigines, migrants and the rest. It must have been music to Oldfield’s big ears.

He was a staffer for Abbot at the time, but perhaps he saw prime ministerial material in Hanson. Either that, or an easy ride into parliament for himself. (He later became an upper house member of the NSW Parliament). Whatever the motivation was, Oldfield pursued Hanson and eventually became her key political adviser, media controller and for a short time, according to Hansen, her lover.

She says it was on their second meeting that he cooked her a meal, in her unit at the Sundown Village Motel in Symonston, a modest love nest. But who cares when love is in the air. ”We enjoyed each other’s company and talked for hours,” says Hanson, recalling the night in her book. ”Not only did we talk, but we ended up spending the night together. It was dawn before he left my unit.”

Hanson goes on to say that the ”personal relationship” with Oldfield was brief, ”a couple of weeks”. And that he insisted it be kept secret.

So does it matter? Do we care? Well, for the sake of the record – yes. Although Hanson’s time has well past, back during her heyday, in the late ’90s, her influence and political power was undeniable. Her absurd utterances and freaky policies (who can forget the flat 2 per cent tax on everything) were both cartoonish and catastrophic. Hanson’s reduction of all that is complex in politics to a string of simplistic one- line whinges caused a couple of years of serious policy diversion – not to mention confusion.

For most of that time Oldfield was her interpreter. He was the conduit though which we in the media had access – or not – to the preciously protected Pauline. He appeared to be her eyes, her ears and to push her buttons. I was one of probably many journalists who was forced to endure a number of very long, very late night phone calls from a probing Oldfield, in order to get an interview with his charge.

Back then I was working for Channel 7’s Witness program which recorded the infamous death video – Oldfield’s bright idea. As the tape went to air, opening with Hanson’s ever so serious, ”Fellow Australians, if you are seeing me now, it means that I have been murdered …” the office laughter rang out. It was great for ratings. We knew that. And so did Oldfield.

Now in a sumptuous twist, Hanson appears to be calling her own shots. She knows sex sells, and right now she’s got some 20,000 books for sale so – it’s no-holds bared.

”It’s my autobiography,” she pouted in response to Oldfield’s denials of their affair this week. ”And it’s the whole truth and nothing but the truth, OK.”

For once, I’m really warming to Hanson’s grasp of plain English.

Virginia Haussegger is a Canberra journalist and director of the 50/50 by 2030 Foundation at the University of Canberra.

Related Media

May 1, 2024
Future Woman podcast
Hear Virginia on Future Woman with Helen McCabe
March 31, 2024
Our Radicals and Revolutionaries: Women’s Liberation
The chaps from ASIO were hiding across the road from the Canning Street house in Ainslie. None of the eight...
March 9, 2024
Meta may not care about Australian news but it’s the soul of our communities
I once rang a convent of catholic nuns in Melbourne, to ask if the Sister in charge might have a...
February 17, 2024
Joining the ‘first lady’ club: oh Jodie, what have you done?
So Jodie Haydon said ‘yes’, right at a time when women around the globe are increasingly saying ‘no’ to marriage....
August 14, 2023
Radicals, Rebels and Reformers: a clarion call from the Sisterhood
Oh, they were mad! Furious. Those wild ‘women’s libbers’. Noisy as hell and heading for the Canberra Times, driven by...
July 24, 2023
Barbie lands an unresolved feminist rant, but the joke is on us!
There is a fabulous moment in the history of the Canberra Women’s Movement when over a hundred furious feminists barged...