Statement from Jeremy Buckingham regarding the Pauline Hanson case

9 June 2011

I’ve called this press conference today because documents tendered in court yesterday left me very concerned that I, the Electoral Commission, and perhaps others have been the victim of a fraud and imposter.

I have been contacted several times by a person who gave me the name “Michael Wilson” who purported to be a journalist from the Daily Telegraph. The Daily Telegraph has confirmed that no such person works, or has worked for them. Mr Wilson first contacted me during the counting of votes. He gave me information that indicated he was close to and in regular contact with Pauline Hanson’s campaign.

Only two weeks ago I was again contacted by Mr Wilson again purporting to be from the Daily Telegraph. He told told me that “I could relax about the case” as he had just spoken to ‘Michael Rattner’ (Pauline Hanson’s key witness) in Queensland for 20 minutes, and that Mr Rattner had told him that he would not turn up at court when required. The reason given was that he didn’t want to get his girlfriend (who allegedly provided the original information from the NSW Electoral Commission) in trouble.

In light of all the other information made available yesterday, it seems that Michael Wilson is the only person who knew how to contact Michael Rattner. It now seems to me that Michael Wilson is not only an imposter, but may be the same person as Michael Rattner.

The same Mr Wilson seems to have also misled the NSW Electoral Commission. In an attachment to Mr Brightwell’s affidavit, an email indicates a ‘Michael Wilson’ from the Daily Telegraph requested access to the daily progressive count figures for himself and a colleague at the Daily Telegraph ‘Sean Castle’. Again a ‘Sean Castle’ does not, and has not worked for the Daily Telegraph.

Mr Wilson provided a News Limited email which is in the wrong format, and he provided a hotmail email address for his purported colleague, Mr Castle.

Mr Castle then passed on embargoed election count figures from the Electoral Commission to Pauline Hanson’s campaign.

Mr Brightwell’s revelation in an affidavit that he used a unique signature sign off in an email with Mr Sean Castle, and the fact that this same email sign off is used in the email that Pauline Hanson has based her claims on, indicates that a Sean Castle, or someone pretending to be Sean Castle, may well have been involved, possibly with others in concocting a fraudulent email.

Our equipment registered the phone number from which Michael Wilson called. We have since given that phone number to the Sheriff, and called that number with no result.

Questions must now be answered as to whether Pauline Hanson’s campaign was in contact with either of the fake Daily Telegraph journalists prior to the final count?

Are Michael Wilson, Sean Castle, and Michael Rattner in fact the same person? If so, has this person been involved in the deception of myself and the Electoral Commission?

When did Pauline Hanson and her campaign team, first have contact with the person or persons known as Michael Rattner, Michael Wilson, or Sean Castle and what was the nature of that contact?

Why has Pauline Hanson taken this case to Court if the only evidence that she has is an email that may be a fraud and the word of someone she hasn’t met, knows little about, and may not actually exist?

This whole episode reminds me of the Godwin Grech fiasco. Pauline Hanson has some questions to answer, and the police should investigate if someone has been conducting a campaign of deception against myself and the NSW Electoral Commission.

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