Australia Activist Has First Night in Jail
Aug. 22, 2003
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ A right-wing leader known for anti-immigration rhetoric spent her first night in prison Thursday after being convicted of fraud and misuse of funds.
Pauline Hanson, who is serving a three year term, spent the night in the prison medical unit, prison service spokesman Ron Watson said, adding it was routine for new inmates.
Her record of attacking the payment of welfare to impoverished Aborigines has raised fears she might be targeted by some inmates. One prominent indigenous lawmaker, Sen. Aden Ridgeway, has said she should be given special protection in prison.
Hanson and another official in her One Nation Party, David Ettridge, were convicted of illegally registering the party in Queensland in 1997 and then fraudulently claiming $330,000 in electoral funding to campaign for a state poll in 1998.
Hanson stunned the nation in 1996 when she was elected as an independent federal lawmaker. In her first speech to Parliament, she shocked Australia's Asian neighbors by warning that the country was in danger of being ``swamped'' by Asians. She also criticized government welfare policies for Aborigines.
At its height, her One Nation Party attracted almost 10 percent of the vote. But Hanson herself lost office. She tried several times unsuccessfully to get back into the political arena before she was brought to trial.
On the Net: www.paulinehanson.org.au