Pauline Hanson is relieved that NSW taxpayers may be forced to pick up hefty legal costs stemming from her botched state election challenge.
The former One Nation leader had faced the prospect of paying the likely hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees incurred by the parties called to answer her case. But the NSW Supreme Court heard on Thursday that the state government may instead end up footing the bill.
“I am very relieved and actually it instils a sense of hope and I’m pleased with the justice system,” Ms Hanson said outside court following the proceedings.
Justice Peter McClelland reserved his decision until next week but indicated the NSW Electoral Commission and upper house politicians Jeremy Buckingham and Sarah Mitchell should be reimbursed for their legal costs.
“On the face of it, they’re entitled to seek costs because (Ms Hanson’s) case failed,” Justice McClelland said.
Both politicians had risked losing the upper house seats they won in the March 26 election if Ms Hanson’s case was successful.
The judge indicated their costs could instead by paid by the state government, a decision allowed to him under the NSW Parliamentary Electorates and Elections Act.
Legal representatives for the commission and the politicians put the onus on Ms Hanson, arguing she should have taken more care in scrutinising an email that propelled her to launch her court case.
She narrowly missed out on an upper house seat in the state election but later received an email alleging that 1200 of her votes were put in a pile of blank ballots.
On Tuesday, the court heard the email was a fraud.
But Justice McClelland said on Thursday that the email had the names and signatures of commission staff and appeared to her to be genuine.
He coupled that argument with the fact that Ms Hanson lost the election by some 1300 votes and her only option to contest the result was through the Supreme Court, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns.
Full Article: Taxpayers could wear Hanson court costs.