Fraser Anning, the man Pauline Hanson chose to replace Malcolm Roberts, the One Nation senator forced from parliament by the High Court because he was a dual UK-Australian citizen, has “abandoned” the party, the One Nation leader said
Anning will sit has an independent “until something else comes along”, Hanson said, having defected from One Nation just minutes after he was sworn into the Senate today.
Hanson released a statement on what’s happened in an already wild day in Australian politics, saying that after clashing in a party room meeting this morning, Anning, told his colleagues of his plan to defect just minutes before he was sworn in.
Here’s what she said:
One Nation leader and Queensland Senator Pauline Hanson has announced Malcolm Robert’s replacement, Fraser Anning has abandoned the Party to stand as an independent “until something else comes along”.
Senator Hanson believes previous employees of Malcolm Roberts made contact with Mr Anning several months ago, encouraging him to move to Corey Bernardi’s party should Malcolm Roberts lose his seat.
“Before the citizenship cloud hovered over Malcolm Roberts’ head, I had already approached Fraser Anning to contest the seat of Gladstone in the upcoming Queensland State election. I was of the view at the time, Fraser would be a solid candidate for that electorate,” Senator Hanson said.
“Mr Anning dismissed the request on the grounds that he and his wife were determined to make a permanent move to the United States to join their two daughters and grandchildren, who own a business venture on the West Coast.”
“Prior to the High Court’s decision, I had attempted to speak with Mr Anning while he was overseas, but those efforts fell on deaf ears. 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 to discuss his future plans. Instead he chose to release scathing media releases demanding I pledge my support to him without even meeting or speaking to him.”
Mr Anning only spoke with Senator Hanson this morning on the return of Parliament, but those talks quickly failed when Senator Hanson refused a number of Mr Anning’s staff into a Party room meeting.
“Mr Anning was advised that David Goodridge, Leon Ashby, Richard Howard and Boston White were not welcome to this morning’s Party room meeting, because of their disloyalty to their former employer and myself,” Senator Hanson.
Fraser Anning said “I know where this is going” and stood up and walked out of the room.
In an attempt to calm the waters, Senator Hanson asked Senators Burston and Georgiou to mediate with Mr Anning to find some common ground, but they were informed Mr Anning would stand as an Independent only minutes before he was sworn into the Senate.
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