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Pauline Hanson supports move to refer One Nation senator Rod Culleton’s election to the High Court

Written By: admin - Dec• 12•18

Senator Pauline Hanson addresses the Senate on Monday. Photo: Andrew Meares Senator Rod Culleton speaks in the Senate on the issue of his eligibility to serve in the Senate. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Senator Hanson listens on as Senator Culleton speaks on the issue in the Senate. Photo: Andrew Meares

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has backed the referral of one of her senators to the High Court, saying her integrity and accountability to the n people offered her no other choice.

A visibly emotional Senator Hanson spoke slowly as she reaffirmed her personal support for West n senator Rod Culleton, but said her fight to return to the Parliament had been too long and too hard to not act.

Senator Culleton’s election to the Senate has been put in doubt over a conviction he held at the time of the July 2 poll. That conviction, over the theft of a $7.50 tow-truck key, has since been quashed. In his own impassioned speech to the Senate on Monday, Senator Culleton argued that meant the conviction had never existed.

His party leader wasn’t taking any chances.

“I have always stood for honesty, for integrity, for what is the truth, and the people deserve no less, especially from this chamber,” she said.

“It goes to the very heart of our democracy and now with this at hand, it is a question over Mr Culleton’s, Senator Culleton’s, eligibility to hold a seat in this place. I was of the opinion when he was nominated for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation as a Senate candidate that he stated that he was eligible to stand under the requirements of the constitution section 44.

“I took that to be his oath and it was signed and witnessed; his signature was witnessed by a JP.

“My fellow colleagues and I support Mr Culleton, Senator Culleton, but we have seen on too many occasions politicians in this place and the other place who have not been accountable to the n people, and I will not stand here and be of the same ilk.

“I believe that it should go to the High Court to make the ruling on this matter and I hope the findings are, and I would dearly love to see Senator Culleton here again as a One Nation senator.

“I believe that I have the support of my other senators and I know that Senator Culleton will not be too happy with what I have just said. But I think that my integrity and my honesty – and I have fought for 18 years to be on the floor of this Parliament as a representative of the people – and I cannot sit back and disregard what may have been a wrong judgment. But I will leave it up to the courts to make the final decision.”

Senator Hanson tabled the declaration Senator Culleton had signed at the time of his candidacy, which stated he was eligible to stand.

The referral was passed by the Senate several hours later.

Prior to Senator Hanson’s statement, Senator Culleton had called on the chamber to “right the wrongs [and] recognise that natural justice has not been served in the Court of Disputed Returns over these spurious charges, which were annulled. There was no conviction on the matter, thereby acknowledging that they never existed.”

He blamed the move on political machinations and the two-party system, despite his spot in the Senate, should the court rule his election to be invalid, probably falling to his brother-in-law, Peter Georgiou, who was next in line on the One Nation West n ticket.

“Parliamentary representatives who actually stand up and represent their constituents will always be under attack from within and from without,” he said.

“That is all too often the nature of the political climate in this country. The preference in the party arena is for the confirmative to just warm those seats with respect to those parties, with no tolerance for true representation of constituent interests. This is not a democracy and that is not in the interests of the true representation in this place for all ns.

“Certain parties believe they have a vested interest in the Senate seat; their actions and reactions today reflect that vested interest in securing this West n Senate seat for which I was elected to serve my constituents in Western n for the next three years.

“Whether or not a concise vote is allowed in this chamber on this issue, it is clear from the reaction of many senators towards me today that their consciences are already affecting their votes and their demeanour.

“In due course, what has been going on behind closed doors will thoroughly be disclosed – both the skulduggery and the acts of integrity and character, that mateship, that separates the n national ethos in a league of its own, refusing to allow such acts of bastardy, without a challenge or an indication of support or solidarity.”

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