Will the real Pauline please stand up?
ONE Nation has printed 50 Pauline Hanson life-size cardboard cuts-outs to stand in for the absent leader ahead of Longman's knife-edge by-election, as the campaign is rocked by an alleged extortion attempt.
The Hanson Army, dressed in black with trademark red lipstick and matching scarlet-coloured hair, will man the 30-plus booths on polling day, while the real deal will be on her own version of the Love Boat in European waters.
One Nation has kept people guessing about whether Ms Hanson will arrive home in time for the by-elections this weekend, saying: "She will be on the polling booths and you can get a selfie."
Ms Hanson's chief-of-staff James Ashby said he had to come up with a plan for his boss's long-planned overseas trip, exclusively revealing tactics to The Courier-Mail.
"A photo visual of Pauline is as good as her being there because it is a presence,'' Mr Ashby said. "People will still be able to come and get a photo with Pauline."
He denied Ms Hanson had tapped out of the by-election, saying she was in daily contact with the team.
It comes as One Nation candidate for Longman Matthew Stephen has made an official complaint to Queensland police that he is a victim of an extortion bid.
Mr Stephen has faced a storm of controversy over the sale of a business that owed debts to tradies. This week he made an official complaint to police on the extortion bid, saying he believed political enemies were behind the threats.
On Thursday, he forwarded to police a text message he allegedly received from a man overseas.
In one text seen by The Courier-Mail, one alleges: "Matthew this is how its going to go, i'm being offered nice coin for an exclusive interview on the sale of your company. you either give me sumtin to keep hush I WILL spill beans on the story. Let me know if you want my bank details you'll have 24 hrs for it to touch my bank acc. or I presume you will go to jail without a doubt".
A Queensland Police spokesman said yesterday: "A complaint was assessed by local police and determined at that stage no offence had been detected."