James Ashby seeks legal advice after Senator's attack
PAULINE Hanson's chief-of-staff James Ashby is seeking legal advice over "false and malicious" comments made by new Queensland Senator Fraser Anning who attacked his handling of the state election.
It is an escalation of the dispute between the two which saw Senator Anning dramatically part from One Nation within an hour of being sworn in at federal parliament last month.
It is also unusual for an elected official to directly attack the staff of another politician.
Senator Anning released a statement on the weekend blaming Mr Ashby for his falling out with One Nation.
He said the plan to preference against sitting members in the state election resulted in "socialist ratbags" being elected and took aim at his charging candidates for printing services during the campaign.
Senator Anning also says Senator Hanson should "give him the flick".
"I still have respect for Pauline and support what One Nation stands for, but it would appear that James Ashby is well on the way to ruining everything she has fought to build," Senator Anning said in a media release.
"Ashby's brilliant plan to get One Nation to preference against sitting members just booted good conservatives out of parliament and helped elect socialist ratbags," he said.
"I hold him personally responsible for undermining my relationship with Pauline, whom I had counted as a close personal friend for over 20 years."
Senator Anning also made reference to One Nation candidates being asked to buy a $3500 election pack through the party, with the services provided by Mr Ashby's company.
Mr Ashby has previously said he provided these services at cost.
A solicitor acting for Mr Ashby said his client was "taking advice as to his legal options in relation to false and malicious claims made by Fraser Anning in a press release".
There is a dispute over the circumstances of Senator Anning's departure from One Nation.
Senator Hanson released a statement saying he quit the party, while Senator Anning says he was fired by press release.
His exit came in the middle of the state election campaign. The Labor Party seized on the issue to argue One Nation would cause chaos if elected.