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The Age

Kennett hits Hanson, Borbidge hedges bets

Date: 05/06/1998
Words: 479
          Publication: The Age
Section: NEWS
Page: 3
Pauline Hanson's "irrational" and "absolutely unstable" views had thrived because of a national "policy vacuum", the Premier, Mr Jeff Kennett, said yesterday.

He "categorically" ruled out any Liberal Party preference deals with One Nation in Victoria, but stopped short of criticising the Prime Minister, Mr John Howard, or the Queensland Liberal Party for putting Mrs Hanson's party ahead of Labor on how-to-vote cards for the state's election on 13 June.

Mr Kennett said One Nation was more dangerous than the Labor Party and if he had "any authority beyond Victoria" he would use it to stamp out Mrs Hanson's views.

"I'll chase her down every burrow until my breath is extinguished because I believe so much in the strength of this country and our multicultural society," Mr Kennett said.

He said her divisive views had thrived in Australia "where there is this policy leadership vacuum in the sense of Australia (not) knowing where it's going".

One Nation would be portrayed internationally as the emergence of the "New Right" in Australian politics if it gained a foothold in Queensland, he warned.

His comments came as One Nation's campaign director, Mr David Oldfield, rebuked the party's candidate for the Queensland seat of Noosa, Mr David Summers, for his "disgraceful and disgusting" claim that Pope John Paul II sold cyanide gas to the German Nazis.

And while the Catholic Church slammed Mr Summers' comments as baseless and "bizarre", he yesterday called for an investigation to determine if the Pope should be put on trial.

Mr Oldfield said Mr Summers, who also claimed AIDS was developed by the United States military for biological warfare, would not lose endorsement, even though his views were not that of One Nation.

Liberal Party sources said the party's Noosa electorate council argued strongly that Mr Summers should not receive preference ahead of Labor, but was overruled.

The Queensland Premier, Mr Rob Borbidge, indicated yesterday that he would be prepared to head a minority coalition government with the support of One Nation MPs if Mrs Hanson's party were to hold the balance of power after this month's election.

At the same time, the state's Liberal Leader, Mrs Joan Sheldon, denied her party's campaign was in disarray after the Liberal candidate for the seat of Ipswich, Mr Steve Wilson, resigned over the party's decision to direct preferences to One Nation ahead of the ALP.

"I was not going to play a game and hope like hell I didn't put a divisive party like One Nation in Parliament," said Mr Wilson, who will now stand as an independent and direct preferences to Labor.

* The ABC yesterday confirmed it had deferred an episode of its television drama Wildside depicting a Pauline Hanson-style politician because it was considered inappropriate to screen it three days before the Queensland election. A spokeswoman said the episode would be re-scheduled.

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