Late last week the Australian media worked itself up into frenzy over two articles that appeared on Peter Rogers’s website, a quick check of his website today shows that it is now redirecting to www.novamagic.com, a blog run by the real author of the articles. On the site the author who goes by the name Paul asked to remain anonymous and as such we have agreed not to publish his full name.
The two articles in question centre around two events that had taken place in the past which brought about major political and social change in both Australia and across the world. The first article questioned the Tasmanian Port Arthur massacre where Martin Bryant shot dead 35 people. “The greatest social changes that happen in Australia are founded on total lies and a fabricated incident. Look at Port Arthur” the article reads. There is no doubt that some people in the Australian community believe that the events at Port Arthur may have been a white flag attack, but with no documented proof of such a claim, expressing so in public will always create great controversy and potential distress for the victims’ families. From a political prospective its career suicide and the reality is if you want an opportunity to appeal to the masses these things need to be kept under control.
The second article was about the famous image of the three year old Syrian refugee Alan Kurdi who drowned in 2015 whilst trying to reach Greece. The article in question claimed that Alan Kurdi was alive and well. This particular article is no longer available but several articles on the drowning are available on the Novamagic website and all suggest that the drowning was fabricated to bring about a reaction of shock from people in Western nations in the hope that they will be more accepting of refugees. Once again it is quite understandable that this claim would cause major controversy and whilst nothing is out of the realm of possibility, it is a very dangerous position to take for any political candidate or his or hers support staff.
As a result of the controversy Peter Rogers offered his resignation, which One Nation is yet to accept. When I spoke with Peter he declined to comment, just saying “I’m keeping my head low.” Whilst Peter is keeping a low profile the same cannot be said about Paul who has published an explosive post on his website attacking One Nation’s handling of the affair. “One Nation is self-imploding and fast,” Paul wrote. The post discusses how various people within the party have put pressure on Peter and himself to take the webpage down but no directive has come directly from Pauline Hanson. “Pauline Hanson looked at the site only 24 hours previous to this page being written, as far as I am aware the only comment made was to be careful. This was in a telephone conversation with Peter and at no time did Pauline say shut down the website,” Paul explained.
Paul went on to write about contact he received from One Nation’s Social Media Manager Ryan Sykes who emailed Paul to pull the site down as it was unauthorised, this was followed up with a Facebook message from One Nation’s Hervey Bay candidate Damian Huxman requesting that the site be pulled down as well. I have contacted Damien to ask for his comments on this ongoing drama and he advised me to leave it with him, at the time of publication he has not got back to me.
Paul went on to claim that One Nation is losing support fast and raised concerns “It is my opinion there is a rat in the system deliberately causing all this grief”. Whilst Paul has not named anyone directly, it could be implied that he is referring to former media advisor to Peter Slipper and now Pauline Hanson’s chief of staff James Ashby. Former One Nation candidate Shan Ju Lin has made it abundantly clear that she believes her sacking was pushed by James Ashby.
Paul, who up until today had refused to be interviewed by any media outlet, agreed to speak with me. Paul took the time to discuss his background with me, which included being an ex-army commando and military marksman. He advised that he is highly qualified academically, but did not elaborate any further and that he lived and worked in exotic locations such as Somalia and Yemen. In relation to his Port Arthur article he said that his military career was his qualification to discuss the Port Arthur massacre. Paul told me that he stands by everything he said on his website. When I asked him if Rogers endorsed his decision to redirect his personal One Nation candidate website to the Novamagic website, he responded with “I redirected his site, that was my decision”. It is clear that whilst Peter Rogers and Paul may be friends, Paul is making his own personal decisions on content on behalf of Rogers. Paul explained that his reasoning for the post was to “put the truth of what happened for all to see”.
I asked Paul if he planned to stay with One Nation, to which he replied, “Haven’t made any decision, I support Peter as I believe he is a fantastic person and very good for Queensland and Australia. He is a very honest man”.
When I asked Paul if he thinks One Nation will keep Peter Rogers on, he responded “Yes, fools if they don’t. It was his website which was in fact the driving force on One Nation popularity, very high on hit rates and last look about 3 ½ most popular in the world, that is huge”. Whilst there is no proof that his website is anywhere even remotely as popular as claimed or even had any impact on the rise of One Nation, it is clear that Paul believes it to be true.
The past few weeks have definitely been rough on One Nation and many supporters are concerned about the on-going drama and who is or isn’t in control at One Nation. But to be fair on One Nation the reality is that they are becoming mainstream, this does not mean they need to lose sight of their main objectives, visions, values and goals but to really compete and to do so in a way that can attract the majority required to win government. This means they need to be careful how they present themselves and the battles they choose to fight. By declaring that any major massacre or incident is a white flag incident labels the party as conspiracy theorist and takes away any credibility in the mainstream community. On the other hand sacking any candidate is going to cause major unrest amongst supporters and bring unwanted negative media attention.
It is time for all leaders, candidates and support staff to take some personal responsibility and ask exactly what they want to achieve and how they need to present themselves to do so. We all can have some outlandish theories on events that run through our heads, but sometimes it’s best to focus on the what we can do and what we need to do to bring about real change.
Each and every person I interviewed in this article honestly wants the best for Australia, some have made mistakes or misjudgements but we need to learn from them and move forth. It is time for unity, not more division, leave that to the left.