Banking on One Nation

THE man who saved then lost Fremantle’s heritage-listed National Hotel has put his hand up to run on a One Nation ticket.

Like many others rallying around party founder Pauline Hanson, Sean Butler has a grudge against the system; he believes his bank ripped him off to the tune of millions of dollars and authorities turned a blind eye. He’s signed up to One Nation on Ms Hanson’s promise to take up his fight with the banks, who he reckons sent thousands of Australians to the wall unfairly as they crawled their way out of the Global Financial Crisis.

The National was gutted by fire in 2007 and the former Attadale businessman took on its restoration. But shortly after Bankwest recalled his loans, despite the fact he’d never missed a payment.

Mr Butler claims Bankwest had been bought by the Commonwealth Bank at the height of the GFC, following pressure from the Rudd government. Owned by the Bank of Scotland, its loans book was known to be perilous after a reckless expansion program, and Mr Butler wants to know whether any secret deals were cut between Rudd and the banks over the sale.

• Pauline Hanson and candidate Sean Butler.

• Pauline Hanson and candidate Sean Butler.

Shortly after Bankwest called in thousands of loans after revaluing properties and businesses. Mr Butler and other opponents claim while they were trying to clear out risky loans, their businesses were unfairly scooped up.

Mr Butler met Ms Hanson at a senate inquiry into the banking industry which heard about his case. She wasn’t in politics at the time, but had heard from so many Queenslanders making the same claims as Mr Butler that she decided to sit in.

”None of the major parties are listening and she is determined to get justice,” Mr Butler says.

Ms Hanson says she wants a third senate inquiry, rather than a lengthy and costly royal commission: “But under our [One Nation’s] conditions,” she says.

“The whole sector needs a full investigation into it.

“Foreclosing on a business and on-selling doesn’t make sense to me…the customers are not behind in payments…[but] the major political parties aren’t doing anything.”

Not all Ms Hanson’s One Nation policies sit well with Mr Butler, including her dismissal of climate change and plans to ban Islamic immigration.

by JENNY D’ANGER

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