The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has used special coercive powers to force Pauline Hanson’s One Nation to hand over information about a small plane used by the senator during election campaigns.
Electoral commissioner Tom Rogers told Senate Estimates yesterday that the AEC was looking into the ownership of a plane and had to use its coercive powers for the first time in five years after it struggled to get the information it needs from One Nation.
Last month ABC TV’s Four Corners investigated the ownership of the light plane, which was used by Hanson during last year’s election campaign. The AEC is investigating claims that Pauline Hanson’s One Nation breached electoral disclosure laws by failing to declare the Jabiru aircraft.
Four Corners alleged property developer Bill McNee bought the plane for the party as far back at 2015. McNee denies it. Hanson’s controversial chief of staff, James Ashby, is a pilot.
Earlier this year senator Hanson told Sky News it was “the party’s plane”, but she paid for fuel out of her own pocket since the election, but this month, she revised her position, saying Ashby, bought it from McNee.
At estimates yesterday, commissioner Rogers said the AEC had issued notices to party officials to compel them to provide the information they sought.
“With the issue of those notices, the matter ceased being an inquiry and became a formal investigation and that’s where we are at the moment,” he said.
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