Pauline Hanson may try to add “Australian Parliament Member for the Hunter 2013 –” to her colourful CV.
Ms Hanson said on Tuesday she was considering running as an independent in the September federal election for the seat which includes most of the Upper Hunter shire.
The lead candidates, sitting MP Joel Fitzgibbon and the Nationals’ Michael Johnsen, were relaxed and comfortable with the news.
“It’s only speculation of course,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
“Anyone is entitled to run including those who live in Queensland.
“If she runs I will stand on my record and of course she will stand on hers.”
Mr Johnsen was more enthused at the prospect of Ms Hanson on the hustings and the ballot paper.
“I would welcome her,” Mr Johnsen said.
“Pauline Hanson has obviously picked up the same message that I’ve been picking up, that people are so annoyed and fed up with the incompetence of the current Gillard government.
“There is an opportunity to see the Hunter taken away from Labor.”
While Mr Fitzgibbon served in the house of representatives at the same time as Ms Hanson in the mid 1990’s, Mr Johnsen met Ms Hanson for the first time a few weeks ago at the Kurri Kurri Nostaliga Festival.
She said then she intended to run for a Queensland seat.
Mr Johnsen said her candidacy in the Hunter would bring a welcome focus on the region.
“At a political level the Hunter electorate has been sullied by the carrying-on by the Labor members,” Mr Johnsen said.
“This is an opportunity for getting the political media spotlight for all the right reasons.
“I think it will put the attention on what the Nationals can do for the people of Hunter.
“Issues such as the carbon tax and the mining tax are decreasing confidence and increasing the cost of living.
“That can be changed with a change of government and a change of member.”
Both Mr Johnsen and Mr Fitzgibbon said it was too early to comment on whether their parties would put Ms Hanson last on
preferences as has occurred in other elections.
Aside from many stints as a political candidate including as leader of her then party One Nation in the 1990s and in the 2011 NSW election, Ms Hanson has been a fish and chip shop owner, City of Ipswich councillor, member of federal parliament from 1996 to 1998, jail inmate (the conviction for electoral fraud was overturned on appeal), and contestant on TV’s The Celebrity Apprentice Australia and Dancing With The Stars.
Ms Hanson told the Newcastle Herald this week her ties to the Hunter region were still strong and her partner owned property in the area.
She said the impacts of coal seam gas a lack of support for farmers, Labor’s mining tax and the condition of roads in tourism areas of the Hunter were issues of importance.