One Nation candidate to pursue complaint against former colleague over taped conversation

One Nation candidate to pursue complaint against former colleague over taped conversation

One Nation candidate to pursue complaint against former colleague over taped conversation

Updated 14 November 2017, 22:20 AEDT

One Nation's campaign director Michael Pucci complained to police he suffered an invasion of privacy when 7.30 broadcast a secretly recorded telephone conversation between him and a former candidate.

A One Nation candidate for this month's Queensland election is pushing ahead with a police complaint involving the ABC and a former party member.

Michael Pucci complained that he suffered an invasion of privacy in May when 7.30 broadcast a secretly recorded telephone conversation between him and Diane Happ.

Mr Pucci is the One Nation candidate for the seat of Jordan in south-west Brisbane and is a senior figure inside the party, having worked as its campaign director.

As a result of the complaint, Queensland police served a search warrant on the ABC at its Brisbane studios in September, and last Thursday they approached Ms Happ seeking an interview.

In a statement, Mr Pucci said the complaint was personal and had nothing to do with One Nation, and he could not comment further as police were continuing to investigate.

Ms Happ, who is yet to be charged, declined to comment to the ABC.

The 7.30 story by reporters Peter McCutcheon and Michael Atkin, broadcast in May, featured Ms Happ — One Nation's candidate for the Gold Coast seat of Mermaid Beach before she fell out with the party over the cost of campaign material.

Ms Happ spoke out about the negative impact she claimed senior One Nation insiders like Mr Pucci and chief of staff James Ashby were having on the party, saying Mr Ashby was a "viper" who would bring Pauline Hanson "down in flames".

Pucci delivered ultimatum in heated phone call

The heated phone call recorded by Ms Happ included Mr Pucci threatening to cancel a fundraising event with Ms Hanson unless the candidate paid thousands of dollars in fees for electoral materials.

Mr Pucci swore several times and told Ms Happ he was "tired of your bullshit and pointing fingers and making excuses".

Despite the Queensland election not having been called at the time of the conversation, Mr Pucci delivered an ultimatum.

"The rule is Pauline is not coming anywhere where you're not paid up," he said.

"I didn't make the rule, that's the rule, so don't put that shit on me that I'm trying to stop you.

"I'm trying to help you and rules are rules. Pay up or that's it."

Ms Happ claimed she was never told the printing fees would be paid to a company owned by Mr Ashby and said she was planning to pay the fees after the fundraiser.

At the time Mr Pucci told the ABC the phone call was part of a long-running dispute with Ms Happ, including her falling behind in payments she agreed to make.

Ms Happ's comments were broadcast on the same day another secret recording was made public, in which Mr Ashby proposed inflating prices for candidates' electoral materials and claiming the money back through the Australian Electoral Commission.

Mr Ashby said at the time he was embarrassed by the recording but the plan to overcharge candidates was simply part of a brainstorming session and never went ahead.

In a statement, Queensland Police confirmed the investigation regarding a complaint received from Mr Pucci was "ongoing".