Pauline Hanson has unleashed a new attack on her rebel senator Rod Culleton, declaring that things had “gone to his head”.
As the case on Culleton’s eligibility to have stood for parliament is in the High Court on Wednesday, Hanson said that if he lost, “in the recount, I could end up with his brother-in-law”. Culleton’s brother-in-law, Peter Georgiou, was next on the One Nation ticket in Western Australia.
The case revolves around Culleton having a conviction when he was elected that would have made him ineligible, but then the conviction was subsequently annulled.
“I’m yet to meet his brother-in-law, but Rod has indicated he wants to work with his brother-in-law so we’re on the same merry-go-round,” Hanson said.
But she said she would “deal with this”, adding she had “dealt with tougher things than Rod Culletons in this world”.
Hanson was furious last week after Culleton broke ranks with One Nation over the backpacker tax.
She told 2GB on Tuesday: “Look, he’s not a team player at all. We can’t work with him, you can’t reason with him and honestly I think a whole lot’s gone to his head.
"He loves the limelight, he loves the publicity and he’s not really listening to the advice.
"He’s come on the scene. He was not interested in politics when I approached him earlier this year,” she said, although she praised his push for a royal commission into banking saying she would pursue it.
Hanson said Culleton would make a very good senator if he could only take direction but “I don’t think he likes my authority”. When she sought to lay down some ground rules “he says ‘stop, stop. Don’t go anywhere further, otherwise I’m out of here’. And I thought, you can’t have a decent conversation with someone telling you ‘stop’ because they don’t want to hear these things. And … he’s of the opinion he won the seat on his name.”
Hanson welcomed comments by the high profile Dick Smith, who has backed her policy of curbing immigration – although not her views against Muslim immigration.
Smith said Hanson’s was the only political party that had a policy on population – an ongoing policy interest of Smith’s – that was not for “endless growth”.
The reason people were voting for Hanson was because they were so frustrated with the major parties, said Smith, who has had a discussion with Hanson, in which he quizzed her about her views.
“I think she’s going to get incredible support,” he said. “All the politicians in the major parties are now forced by the system to be actors.”
He said he would help Hanson develop an aviation policy but would not be providing her with money. “I give my money to charity – I don’t give it to political parties” – although he had sent Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie a few hundred dollars after having dinner with her and being impressed with her “get up and go” attitude.
When asked later whether he would consider his position with the One Nation party over Christmas Culleton said “absolutely”.
Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra