Qld: Do or die for Hanson, but either way she's not going awayBy Paul Osborne
18 Mar 2009 3:01 PM
BRISBANE, March 18 AAP - Love her or hate her, no one can deny Pauline Hanson is one determined woman.
And where that dogged perseverance has taken her, drama has inevitably followed.
Her bid for a seat in the Queensland parliament has been no different. In fact, of her many electoral races, this has been among the more colourful.
It began with a streetside launch in a small country town that generated intense media interest, but only faint curiosity from the 30 or so people who bothered to turn up.
>From then on, it was the usual Hanson circus: a dummy spit on national television about being singled out for scrutiny by the media, and a police probe over her electoral funding.
But then came the show stopper - saucy nude photos purporting to show a 70s-era Ms Hanson in all her youthful glory.
Ms Hanson has promised that Saturday's election will be her last shot at reviving her political career.
Even as she launched her bid to become the independent member for the Gold Coast hinterland seat of Beaudesert, she told reporters her long battle to revive her political career had left her tired.
If she lost this time, it was goodbye to politics for good.
"I think it's definitely it. I'm really worn out," she said.
"I'm getting to a stage where I'm tired, but the fight is still in me."
After five losses on the trot - at federal and state levels - Ms Hanson's chances of winning a seat in her home state are slim.
While she can grab headlines and airtime with ease, she has not managed to grasp the support of voters over the past decade.
A former school teacher in the Beaudesert area, Mavis Wilson, summed it up this way: "She just has some ardent supporters who think the sun shines out of her."
It's been more than a decade since Ms Hanson last won an electoral contest.
That win, in 1996, made her the federal Member for Oxley and marked the start of her political rise that ultimately saw her One Nation Party hold 11 seats in Queensland parliament at its peak.
This time, she has said, it's all about doing something about the "dire straits" in which the Queensland economy is foundering.
But all signs point to the Liberal National Party's 28-year-old candidate Aidan McLindon winning the seat vacated by veteran LNP MP Kev Lingard.
Premier Anna Bligh has had few words to say about the red-haired firebrand, lamenting that most Queenslanders would be "groaning" at the news of the former federal MP contesting the state election.
LNP leader Lawrence Springborg, whose party was railroaded by One Nation in 1998 and has been hamstrung in previous elections by questions of One Nation preferences, ruled out having anything to do with Ms Hanson.
Whatever the outcome in Beaudesert on Saturday, one thing is clear.
Voters have not seen the last of the former Ipswich fish-and-chip shop owner.
The media will continue to follow a Queensland police probe into new questions about public funding of her failed 2007 Senate campaign.
Officers are examining a recent taped TV interview, which Ms Hanson stormed out of, following newspaper reports she transferred more than $200,000 from a Pauline's United Australia Party account, designated by the electoral commission, into her personal account.
Ms Hanson - once jailed for electoral fraud in Queensland before her conviction was overturned - insists everything is above board in relation to her 2007 Senate bid.
Those photos are the other thing guaranteed to keep her in the news.
Ms Hanson vehemently denies the racy images are of her, and has vowed to sue media outlets that splashed them across newspaper pages.
So voters can look forward to the prospect of not one, but two, new Hanson dramas.