Pauline Hanson has enlisted the help of Mark Latham in a robocall campaign. Picture: AAP Image/Ben Rushton
Pauline Hanson has enlisted the help of Mark Latham in a robocall campaign. Picture: AAP Image/Ben Rushton

The reason behind odd One Nation robocalls

BILL Shorten is the accidental matchmaker who has produced the remarkable political marriage of convenience between Pauline Hanson and Mark Latham.

It is a remarkable coupling because at one point the two couldn't stand each other.

Mr Latham is on record effectively accusing Pauline Hanson of hypocrisy towards battlers. And he has formally joined the Liberal Democrats, rivals to One Nation in the harvesting of the votes of the insecure and discontented.

But now he is the voice of One Nation in a joint operation with Pauline Hanson which shuts out the Liberal Democrats.

They have been brought together by their shared dislike of Bill Shorten, the man who will take the Labor Party into the brace of by-elections on July 28, the same Labor Party Mr Latham unsuccessfully led into the 2004 general election.

 

Labor leader Bill Shorten is the accidental matchmaker in this unlikely partnership. Picture: Chris Kidd
Labor leader Bill Shorten is the accidental matchmaker in this unlikely partnership. Picture: Chris Kidd

 

Ms Hanson pumped up her own loathing of Mr Shorten recently after Labor used robocalls to voters in the near-Brisbane seat of Longman, attacking her personally.

"She's even giving herself a massive tax cut," said the automated telephone contacts.

Any anti-Shorten allies in reprisal operations were all right by Ms Hanson.

So the Hanson/Latham alliance was conceived with the possibility raised just after the senator lost her NSW colleague Brian Burston who quit One Nation in an internal squabble over government tax policy.

The grand alliance was foreshadowed on June 1 by news.com.au.

In addition to revenge, One Nation wants to win Longman at the by-election or at least decide the winner with its second preferences.

Ms Hanson had made her own robocall reprisal for Longman voters, kicking off with: "Hi, this is Pauline Hanson. The Labor Party is at it again telling lies."

 

Mark Latham has helped out his former adversary. Picture: Dylan Robinson
Mark Latham has helped out his former adversary. Picture: Dylan Robinson

 

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson. Picture: AAP Image/Mick Tsikas

 

Any opportunity to escalate the strategy was welcome and she didn't have to look far to find an accomplice. Mark Latham is voicing the calls, urging voters to back minor parties and independents on July 28.

"I've had personal experience with Bill Shorten's dishonesty. He just lies and lies and lies," he says, repeating Ms Hanson's accusation and no doubt delighting her.

He doesn't directly mention One Nation, but the call is authorised by Pauline Hanson.

And certainly there is no specific reference to the Liberal Democrats, the party Mr Latham joined less than 14 months ago. It could be he has done the political calculations and decided his future would be brighter with Pauline Hanson than David Leyonhjelm.

But Mr Latham and Ms Hanson have a bit of history to get over before they get too cosy.

In 2011 he wrote: "On the extreme right of politics, the likes of Pauline Hanson and Bob Katter lead a lifestyle disconnected from the circumstances of the poor.

"Hanson is an affluent business and property owner while Katter is the son of a former member of parliament."

Political marriages have come undone on less.


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