Nude Oz politico snaps a 'con'
Newspaper apologises to Pauline Hanson
Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph has apologised to right-wing Oz politician Pauline Hanson over the publication of nude photographs it claimed were of the One Nation party founder, admitting the whole thing was "one giant con".
The paper obtained the snaps from former army commando* Jack Johnson, who said they were taken during a weekend he spent with Hanson sometime "between 1975 and 1977". Johnson received AU$15,000 for the images - cash he said he needed for bone cancer treatment.
Hanson iniststed she was not the amateur model in question, prompting the Sunday Telegraph's editor, Neil Breen, to defend the authenticity of the photos.
However, the paper yesterday ran a two-page spread, which explained: "Jack Johnson, the person at the centre of the controversial Pauline Hanson photographs affair, has emerged as a conman.
"The Sunday Telegraph has learned Johnson not only offered purported photographs of Ms Hanson to paparazzi agent Jamie Fawcett eight days ago, but at the same time offered similar photographs of another prominent Australian woman in exchange for cash.
"This new information makes it clear that Johnson is a conman."
Breen added: "I have said all week I'd be the first person in Australia to apologise to Pauline Hanson if it were proven the photographs were not of her. We've proven it ourselves, so Pauline, I'm sorry."
Johnson admitted: "I will be honest with you: I was stupid. I try to be a decent human being, but I am made a mongrel out of this."
The pictures surfaced as Hanson was contesting the Gold Coast seat of Beaudesert in the Queensland state elections, which took place on Saturday. She failed in her bid for election as an independent. ®
*This part of the story is also in doubt. The Sunday Telegraph notes: "No army representative contacted has any knowledge or recollection of a John 'Jack' Johnson serving in the army."