One Na­tion splits with new se­na­tor

The Daily Examiner - - NEWS / NATION & WORLD - Liz Burke News Corp

THE new­est par­lia­men­tar­ian ap­pointed to rep­re­sent One Na­tion in the Sen­ate quit the party yes­ter­day only an hour after be­ing sworn in, say­ing his re­la­tion­ship with the leader “went to hell in a hand­bas­ket”.

The High Court an­nounced last week that One Na­tion can­di­date Fraser An­ning would re­place former se­na­tor Mal­colm Roberts, who was ruled in­el­i­gi­ble to sit in par­lia­ment as a ca­su­alty of the dual cit­i­zen­ship saga.

Se­na­tor An­ning was sworn in yes­ter­day morn­ing as a Queens­land se­na­tor, but a short time later One Na­tion leader Pauline Han­son made the shock an­nounce­ment he had de­fected from the party.

But Se­na­tor An­ning de­nied quit­ting One Na­tion, say­ing he was kicked out of the party with­out no­tice.

“The next thing I knew, I saw on the TV that I had sup­pos­edly be­come an in­de­pen­dent. This was news to me!” Se­na­tor An­ning told Guardian Aus­tralia.

“It seems with­out even con­tact­ing me, Pauline has uni­lat­er­ally kicked me out of her party. I have to say that I’m stunned.”

Later in an in­ter­view with The Aus­tralian, Se­na­tor An­ning said his two-decade friend­ship with Ms Han­son sud­denly went south yes­ter­day morn­ing when the leader in­di­cated she wouldn’t work with four of his staff who had pre­vi­ously worked for Mr Roberts.

“As she knows, I’ve sup­ported her in all her elec­tion cam­paigns,” Se­na­tor An­ning said.

“I ran for One Na­tion in ’98 and my wife and I con­sid­ered Pauline a close friend, but that all went to hell in a hand­bas­ket this morn­ing. When I walked into this meet­ing this morn­ing I was very rudely told that none of my staff were to walk in here.

“That was Pauline.

“Pauline was on her high horse a bit. She got pretty rude to (chief of staff ) David (Goodridge) and said he’ll never come any­where near me. I’m not sure why.”

In a state­ment, Se­na­tor Han­son said she had at­tempted to con­vince Mr An­ning to re­sign to cre­ate a ca­sual va­cancy for Mal­colm Roberts.

“I had at­tempted to speak with Mr An­ning while he was over­seas, but those ef­forts fell on deaf ears,” Se­na­tor Han­son said.

“I was forced to com­mu­ni­cate through Fraser’s brother while I was trav­el­ling through North Queens­land in Septem­ber.

“I in­di­cated to Harry An­ning at the time that given the work Mal­colm Roberts had achieved as chair of the bank­ing in­quiry and his role in chal­leng­ing cli­mate change, it would be in the fed­eral party’s and Aus­tralia’s best in­ter­est for Mal­colm Roberts to be re­turned to the Sen­ate.

“I was dis­ap­pointed Mr An­ning made no at­tempt to con­tact me or any One Na­tion ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber off the back of mul­ti­ple re­quests.”

Also yes­ter­day, former Aus­tralian Demo­crat An­drew Bartlett was sworn in to re­place former Greens se­na­tor Larissa Wa­ters, who re­signed in July after find­ing out she held Cana­dian cit­i­zen­ship.

Jor­don Steele-John, 23, was sworn in to re­place an­other Greens se­na­tor, Scott Lud­lam, who also quit after re­veal­ing he was a dual ci­ti­zen.

The devel­op­ments came as the two ma­jor par­ties struck a deal on how to deal with MPs’ cit­i­zen­ship dis­clo­sures.

MPs will need to pub­licly dis­close fam­ily his­tory and any steps taken to re­nounce dual cit­i­zen­ships un­der a mo­tion ex­pected to pass the Sen­ate.

The govern­ment has agreed to La­bor’s re­quest for a De­cem­ber 1 dis­clo­sure date and for more de­tails to be dis­closed.

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