Earlier this week Starts at 60 revealed that One Nation leader Pauline Hanson allegedly had a “big surprise” up her sleeve for Super Saturday, after it emerged that she had left the country ahead of this weekend’s by-elections.
The 64-year-old pollie is currently in the UK enjoying what her Chief of Staff James Ashby described as a much needed break, but the news was met with an outpouring of criticism as people slammed Hanson for flying to the other side of the world and being absent on election day.
Despite the criticism though, Ashby reassured One Nation supporters that the party leader had planned something special for Saturday prior to jetting off on her cruise, leaving voters guessing as to what it could be. He also refused to confirm or deny whether she would be back in time to see the votes being counted.
Speculations included that Hanson may have decided to “run for the top job”, while one Starts at 60 reader joked that she may be returning to her entrepreneurial roots and “opening up a fish and chip shop at Parliament House”, and another guessed the surprise could be that she is giving her preferences to Labor, rather than the Liberal Party.
However, Hanson’s “big surprise” was seemingly rumbled on Friday when it was revealed that One Nation had commissioned the printing of 50 life-size cardboard cut-outs of the Queensland Senator.
The cardboard figures will be stationed at more than 30 polling booths in the available seat of Longman, in Queensland, on Saturday, where One Nation candidate Matthew Stephen is hoping to be elected as MP.
And the life-size Hanson stand-ins might not be what voters had anticipated, Ashby also exclusively revealed to Starts to 60 there will be “more surprises” on the day.
Stephen is up against Liberal candidate Trevor Ruthenburg and Susan Lamb of the Australian Labor Party, who was forced to resign because the renunciation of her British citizenship had not been finalised by the close of nominations for the 2016 Federal election.
A recent YouGov Galaxy survey revealed that the Liberal National Party is expected to steal the Queensland seat from Labor on Saturday, which would mark the first time that the sitting government has claimed a seat from the opposition in 98 years.
Voters will have their say in the electorates of Fremantle and Perth, Western Australia, Mayo, South Australia, Braddon in Tasmania and Longman, Queensland, on Saturday.