Anning will cast net on new party
FAST- MOVING former One Nation Senator Fraser Anning has already had talks with the LNP’s Matthew Canavan and breakaway conservative Cory Bernardi.
Senator Anning, the One Nation replacement for Senator Malcolm Roberts, left the party in spectacular fashion on Monday morning after falling out with its leader, Senator Pauline Hanson, and her chief adviser James Ashby.
Senator Anning quit the party only hours after being appointed to fill the position left vacant by One Nation Senator Roberts, who stood down in October after it was discovered he was a British citizen.
Senator Anning, a pilot and former North Queensland grazier and publican, said he had been a “loyal member” of One Nation for more than 20 years.
His membership came to a climactic ending in Canberra on Monday at a meeting with Mr Ashby, Ms Hanson and other One Nation politicians.
Senator Anning said he had been affronted by Senator Hanson’s comments about his staff appointments.
“I’ve never been spoken to like that in front of other people in my entire life,” Senator Anning said.
He said he was surprised other members of the party at the meeting did not speak up.
Senator Anning said he told Senator Hanson that he would not “stand there and listen to this”.
He said he blamed what had happened on a worsening toxic culture inside One Nation.
He said he felt he was being put under pressure to resign from One Nation so that Mr Roberts could make a return to the Senate.
“They wanted me to fall on my sword so that Mr Roberts could step back in,” he said.
Senator Anning said he was finished with One Nation.
“It’s not for me. I won’t be going back. My argument is not really with Pauline, but with other people in the organisation,” he said.
“I’ve never really had an argument with Pauline, but I won’t take being spoken to the way she spoke to me on Monday.”
Senator Anning said his priority as a senator was to get things done for regional Queensland.
“If it’s not for the good of Queensland, I’m not interested,” he said.
Senator Anning would not elaborate on his “talks” with Senator Canavan or with Senator Bernardi of the Australian Conservatives.
“I’ll be listening to whoever will do the most for what I want,” he said.
“I’d like to find a home with like- minded people.”
Senator Anning said he wanted to see a coal- fired power station built in North Queensland.
He said the Queensland Government’s “unrealistic” renewable targets were destroying jobs and should be scrapped.
Senator Canavan said he had spoken to Senator Anning, but there had been no discussion about him joining the LNP.
Senator Hanson told News Corp that Mr Anning was “in thrall” of disaffected former staff of Mr Roberts and he had betrayed his voters.