CANBERRA -- A new secret recording of One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has been aired, in which she is concerned about the leaking of information about a plane used for party business, just months before a controversy erupted about whether it had been properly declared.
The recordings concerned a Jabiru light aircraft, which has been used extensively to ferry Hanson around Australia, and is now the subject of an Australian Electoral Commission investigation into whether it was properly declared as a campaign contribution.
The secret recording has her indicating the aircraft was donated by a Victorian developer, Bill McNee. McNee has publicly denied the donation took place, while Hanson has said it was not a donation, but had "come from" McNee as help for her chief of staff James Ashby for his business.
In a November 20 phone call, recorded by One Nation's estranged and former treasurer Ian Nelson and aired on Monday night by the ABC's 730 program, McNee is named by Hanson.
— ABC News Brisbane (@ABCNewsBrisbane) May 29, 2017
"We've got word there's a story coming out in The Australian tomorrow and they've actually been told that Bill McNee actually donated the money to pay up front for the office for the year and for the plane," Hanson can be heard saying.
"Who the bloody hell did they get that off?" Nelson responded.
Pauline Hanson's plane story contradicted by leaked tapes https://t.co/wCCblRWtTZ— Sunshine Coast Daily (@the_daily) May 29, 2017
Hanson responded: "They've already rung Bill and asked him and he said, 'Yep, but I've donated to a lot of parties'."
Nelson has also given the recording to the AEC which is investigating whether One Nation breached disclosure laws over the plane.
In the recording, Hanson manages to predict the course of current events and outlines her concern with media coverage.
"I get pissed off Ian because people get the shits with me and then they go to the media and this turns to shit," the One Nation leader said.
Hanson described the light aircraft in January as "my plane, well the party's plane", while chief of staff James Ashby has insisted, including to HuffPost Australia on April 4, that he paid for the plane and he had "done nothing wrong".
Nelson originally aired his concerns about the plane in April on the ABC Four Corners program, alleging Ashby sought a donation from Victorian property developer Bill McNee in 2015 specifically to buy a light plane and accusing the party's leadership of failing to declare the significant gift.
In the latest recording, Hanson suspects a leak from the One Nation leadership group. That contains Hanson, Ashby, Nelson and former party secretary Saraya Beric. Hanson strongly suspects Beric and is "not happy".
Hanson: "Who knows Bill's name? No-one, we always kept it very quiet.
Hanson: Who knows that he paid the money upfront for the office?"
Nelson: "I have no idea."
Hanson: "There was only the four of us who knew. It was tight-knit."
November 20 recording
Hanson has previously accused Beric and Nelson of being disgruntled about being passed over for continuing roles in her party.
"I have to see what else she's said to them about Bill, but everything was above board because that was all recorded with the AEC and donations and it was all correctly done," Hanson said.
"And if it wasn't, it's going to come back with her because she was secretary of the party.
"I'm not happy, but anyway, I've got nothing to worry about because everything is above board."
Nelson states, in the recording, an aversion to talking to the media but now states he is defending himself from attacks from One Nation.
Hanson denies lying to the public about McNee's donations and said in a statement, provided to the ABC that, "There are no admissions in the recordings that Senator Hanson needs to be concerned about".
One Nation have also complained to Queensland police over the now public recordings.
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