ON HER OWN: One Nation leader Pauline Hanson did not have much backing in Gympie yesterday for her Port Arthur conspiracy theory support.
ON HER OWN: One Nation leader Pauline Hanson did not have much backing in Gympie yesterday for her Port Arthur conspiracy theory support. Patrick Woods

CONSPIRACIES: Gympie's former Hanson backers speak out

GYMPIE'S most prominent ex-One Nation backers have rejected Pauline Hanson's secretly recorded support for Port Arthur conspiracy theories.

Former Gympie independent MP Elisa Roberts, originally elected under the One Nation banner, ridiculed the alleged One Nation view that "John Howard orchestrated the Port arthur massacre.”

She claimed her refusal to support such theories was the reason party members snubbed her after she won the state seat of Gympie, formerly held for the National Party by Len Stephan.

She said this led to her decision to leave the party and serve as an Independent.

Elisa Roberts doing her job asd an independent MP, seen here campaigning for a new bridge at Pomona in 2006
Elisa Roberts doing her job asd an independent MP, seen here campaigning for a new bridge at Pomona in 2006 File

Former One Nation official and Gympie region councillor Ian Petersen said he knew a small number of party members in the late 1990s and early 2000s who subscribed to Port Arthur conspiracy theories, but said they were a small minority.

"There was never anything in official Pauline Hanson policy or philosophy about conspiracy theories regarding Port Arthur, but I know some individual members, the odd one, had such views - very few though, one or two that I'm aware of.

"I don't know if it was a bigger proportion of the membership than it was of the general population,” he said.

Ian Petersen says he recalls
Ian Petersen says he recalls "the odd one” out of early One Nation supporters who held a conspiracy theory about the Port Arthur massacre. Patrick Woods

And that was not why he left One Nation to help form the breakaway City Country Alliance.

He said he had left because of concern at the influence of senior Hanson advisers at the time, David Oldfield and David Ettridge.

"We felt members and Pauline Hanson herself were being sidelined. When we left we tried to take her with us, but she just ranted and so we decided to leave her as well.”

Miss Roberts described her former leader's current predicament as "hilarious.”

"This Pauline business about Port arthur is hilarious, it's because I disagreed with that view that John Howard orchestrated the Port Arthur massacre, that they tried to pull me out of campaign in 2001.

"Unfortunately for them, it was too late to take my name of the ballot paper.

"This is why not one member of ON had anything to do with me on the night of the election,” she posted.

But Mr Petersen said he had doubts about reports of One Nation seeking financial support from the American National Rifle Association.

"The footage seems to be cherry picked and there is a little bit of truth lacking.

"Nothing of it that I have seen includes a request for NRA money.”

He said there had never been any such thoughts expressed during his days with One Nation.

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