The perils of prisoner Pauline

By Philip Cornford

Sydney Morning Herald

Date: August 22 2003

Pauline Hanson found herself in peril yesterday and was put into maximum

security protective custody in a women's prison where most of the

inmates are Aborigines and Asians, whom she railed against during her

brief but spectacular political career.

"As a new prisoner who has a high profile, Hanson will be isolated from

the mainstream prison population for her own protection," a corrective

services spokesman said.

The One Nation founder spent the second night of her three-year sentence

in the protection unit of Brisbane Women's Prison in the western suburb

of Wacol, waiting for lawyers to get a hearing date for an appeal

against her conviction for electoral fraud.

The appeal application was lodged yesterday, but it could be months

before it is heard. However, Hanson's lawyers can now seek bail pending

the hearing.

David Ettridge, co-founder of Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party in

February 1997, was in nearby Arthur Gorrie Jail, also sentenced to three


Hanson, who friends said hates to be by herself, was more alone than she

has ever been in her 49 years, locked in one of 20 cells in Unit S10,

the prison's two-storey maximum security block.

A "high percentage" of the 203 prisoners are Aborigines and Asians who

have no reason to like, and every reason to dislike, Hanson and One

Nation, whose xenophobic policies attacked immigration and government

spending on indigenous problems.

Democrats' Senator Adam Ridgway, an Aborigine, appealed for Hanson to be

in protective custody "given that a lot of indigenous people are in


A previous high-profile inmate of S10 was the former Queensland chief

magistrate Diane Fingleton, jailed in June for a year for making a

threat against another magistrate.

But Fingleton was moved two weeks ago to a halfway house and can do

community work, a move which might give hope to Hanson's lawyers.

Hanson was strip-searched for the third time after transfer from the

Brisbane Watchhouse. Her first day was then spent learning the rules and

getting "kitted out".

Former prisoner Debbie Kilroy has no doubts about what was it was like.

"Stressful, traumatic; it's an absolutely fearful and forbidding

environment for any woman," said Ms Kilroy, who spent 10 years in jail.

"Pauline had hard-headed attitudes. I'm sure she's having an experience

on the other side now."

Did she feel sympathy?

"There's a lot of women who are doing a lot more time for a lot less,"

said Ms Kilroy, founder of the group Sisters Inside.

Hanson's signature red lipstick was among the items she had to

surrender, along with her fashionable clothes. She was given a blue-grey

tracksuit and blue sweat shirt, a dress, a flannelette nightgown,

pillow, sheets, doona, one pair of socks, thongs and gym shoes.

She also got a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and towel. The cell has a

hardboard bed with a thin mattress. There is a toilet and shower, but no


The door has a security grille. Another barred window overlooks the

men's prison - and will give Hanson her only outside view. There is no

radio, but she can rent a TV for $2 a week.

She will be able to buy food and other personal requirements from the

prison store. She will be allowed visitors.

Her days will begin at 6am with cereal, toast and fruit. Lunch is a

sandwich at 11.30am and the final hot meal is in the cells about 4.30pm.

At 5pm prisoners are locked in.

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