Culleton storms out of court: Resigns from One Nation
SENATOR Rod Culleton has stormed out of a Federal Court hearing over a broken land deal debt in the latest bizarre episode for the WA farmer.
Culleton, who quit the One Nation Party overnight, complained that two men were present in court against whom his wife has taken out violence restraining orders.
The two men, farmers Bruce Bell and Frank Bertola, once fought the banks alongside Senator Culleton but are now trying to challenge his eligibility as an MP.
Senator Culleton had refused to go back in to the court after walking out, where he is challenging a court order that he pay former Wesfarmers director Dick Lester $280,000.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has said she is happy to see the back of Culleton saying he was ego driven and more interested in himself than the party.
Senator Hanson told Channel Seven's Sunrise today that Senator Culleton never turned up to daily briefings at parliament, and was not involved in the party's processes.
She said he was always off doing his own media, or going to other meetings and dealing with his legal proceedings.
"He was not involved in the whole process or he was always late," she said.
"He was not working with us as a team. The others can back it up. Kochie, everything I have done, you may not always agree with me, I have always been up and, truthful and honest.
"Rod Culleton is a pain in my backside. I am glad to see the back of him."
Senator Hanson said she had not asked him to resign previously, and said she would stick by him. But now she's changed her tune.
"He asked if I wanted him to resign. Previously, with his legal cases, he has asked if I wanted him to resign. I have said that I would stick by him, but this time I said yes because I believe that he did not comply with section 44, section 2 of the Australian Constitution."
She added that he had been asking for money from the party.
"That is what he is angry about. He is going to court today for bankruptcy. He is trying to get the money for that," she said.
When asked if he should resign from parliament instead of staying on as an independent, she said: "I have no say. He would not acknowledge that he got elected under my name and banner of One Nation. He is ego driven and he loves the media."
The outspoken West Australian senator quit the One Nation party, as Senator Hanson unveiled 36 candidates for the next Queensland election.
The maverick senator cited his fraught relationship with Senator Hanson, and a slew of policy splits between he and the party, for his resignation last night. He said he will continue his term as an independent.
"Since my election to the Senate, I have consistently remained committed to all of the policies and pre-election promises, however my PHON Senate colleague's public record shows they have not," he said in a statement on Sunday night.
"Policy decisions have been run in morning media, with no consultation, discussion or agreement from the party room and personal attacks and undermining, un-Australian behaviour towards myself and my team, has been ongoing and terms dictated to the team."
He accused Senator Hanson and her chief of staff of trying to force him to resign and wielding control over his office.
"The PHON leader's rants against me have been accompanied by demands for my resignation and control over diaries, office management and staffing by Senator Hanson and her chief of staff, James Ashby," he said. "The irrational dictates have caused only distrust and disunity."
The embattled senator is facing legal battles, including one case before the High Court, which could render him ineligible as a parliamentarian.
ONE NATION EYES QUEENSLAND SEATS
Senator Hanson is confident of snatching Queensland seats from the major parties as she announces a raft of candidates ahead of the next state election.
The One Nation founder has unveiled 36 "very closely" vetted candidates, but is remaining tight-lipped about the party's policies for the election, which is due to be held in 2018 or earlier.
Senator Hanson said the party was destined to win some seats in the next parliament, after hearing Labor was going to put the Liberal National Party last in preferences.
"We're coming after you (the major parties) and your jobs because I don't feel you need to be there," she said in Brisbane on Sunday. "You have not listened to grassroots Australians."
Recent polls show support for One Nation has risen into the double digits in Queensland, with the election considered by many as its best chance to pick up seats since 1998, when it won 11 seats.
The party is seen as a threat to both sides and given neither Labor nor the LNP holds a majority, it may only need to snare a handful of seats to hold the balance of power.
Federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann acknowledged One Nation was competition to the LNP, but one they could take on.
Labor frontbencher Jim Chalmers said his party took the electoral threat One Nation posed very seriously.