Freed Hanson eyes return to politics

The controversial Australian politician Pauline Hanson may be plotting a return to politics after her conviction for electoral fraud was quashed and she was released from prison.

    Hanson was sentenced to three years in prison for fraud

    The red-headed former fish and chips store owner who made a name for herself with her anti-immigration views made the rounds of the Australian media circuit on Friday.

    Hanson's former adviser David Oldfield said she would be unable to resist the temptation to stand for office after being vindicated in the public eye.

    "She won't be able to stay away from politics, it'll happen sooner or later," he said.

    Hanson said a return to politics was "the furtherest thing from my mind" when quizzed by media outside jail on Thursday but refused to rule it out on Friday.

    "I just don't know anymore, it's a hard question," she told commercial radio. "If you get up and you question the major political parties, if you get up to have a different political voice in this country, you're slandered to shut down."

    The 49-year-old former leader of the anti-immigration One Nation party and the party's co-founder David Ettridge were sentenced to three years in jail on 20 August after a jury convicted them of electoral fraud.

    "She won't be able to stay away from politics, it'll happen sooner or later"

    David Oldfield, former advisor

    Hanson was also convicted of dishonestly obtaining almost 500,000 Australian dollars ($330,000) in electoral reimbursements after the 1998 Queensland state election.

    A conviction would have barred her from running for office but the Queensland state appeal court's surprise decision to overturn the judgement clears the way for another bite at an election.

    Hanson's popularity peaked in the 1998 Queensland state election when One Nation won 11 seats and captured almost 25% of the vote. But soon afterwards, internal feuding split the party, consigning it to the electoral fringes.

    Two attempts by Hanson to return to power in Canberra failed and she even failed to secure a spot in the obscure upper house of the New South Wales state parliament, prompting her to walk away from politics and pursue a career managing country music singers.

    SOURCE: AFP


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