It was certainly spectacular. Just as dusk fell in Brisbane last night, Pauline Hanson and David Ettridge walked free from their respective prisons, acquitted of the fraud charges that had incarcerated them 11 weeks previously. Hanson looked thinner, a bit vulnerable (not surprisingly) and sounded disappointingly upbeat about the quality of her fellow inmates – at least as far as the massed media was concerned. Not a single retributive punch-up to report. Just empathy, caring and understanding. Mark Latham’s observation – that she’d called for harsher sentences and now she was getting one – was sounding a bit tinny in retrospect.
The appeal court judgment whacked the DPP, defence counsel and – oddly – a range of named right wing pollies – for criticising the severity of the sentence that their Honours had just seen fit to overturn. Justice McMurdo opined that these worthies risked damaging the integrity of the appellate process by so doing. However, one might have reasonably concluded that Her Honour was rather missing the point: they seem to have been vindicated to some extent . Judge Patsy Wolfe (who sentenced Hanson and Ettridge) wasn’t.
Things got a little surreal later when Margo Kingston and David Oldfield were interviewed about Hanson on Lateline. Margo continued her bizarre campaign to reinvent Hanson as some sort of heroine of the Left while Oldfield was….well…Oldfield. With “supporters” like these two emerging, Pauline might have been forgiven for a moment’s reflection on the merits of remaining inside.
Pauline herself singled out Alan Jones and Bronwyn – “she’s a political prisoner” – Bishop for special mention. Justice McMurdo also mentioned Bronwyn but in less flattering terms.
What happens next? Book and magazine deals I suspect. Politics? What do you think?