Ex-One Nation Senator Crashes PM's Conference, Unloads On Pauline Hanson
Beer in hand, a controversial former One Nation senator was a surprise guest at the Prime Minister’s Perth event, slamming his former leader Pauline Hanson.
Rod Culleton — who was elected in 2016 as a One Nation member before quitting the party, then being declared ineligible for parliament over section 44 matters — stood quietly across the road as the PM toured a housing estate in Perth’s northern suburbs. He claimed he just happened to be in the neighbourhood when Scott Morrison arrived.
Relatively inconspicuous in a baseball cap, Culleton looked on as the Morrison media bus pulled up and spilled out onto the road.
“We were actually out on our political campaign and we heard the prime minister might be visiting a house here,” Culleton told 10 daily when we spotted him.
“So we thought we’d check it out and we asked some of the tradies around here.”
Culleton was accompanied by a few supporters of his new Great Australia Party, including a woman in a yellow high-vis vest bearing the party’s logo. Morrison’s security team kept a close eye on them, keeping them across the road and stopping them from getting close.
The PM soon arrived, walking through a home under construction, as he continued spruiking his new policy to help first home buyers get a property deposit
Culleton described his GAP as “a cleanskin party”. He said he is running candidates in every state besides Tasmania, with the party “committed to the restoration of the Commonwealth.”
The former senator quit One Nation just months after being elected, sitting as an Independent briefly before being evicted from parliament in January 2017 over Section 44 issues. (He had been declared bankrupt the previous month — which, under section 44 of the constitution, makes a member ineligible to sit in parliament. The High Court later ruled that a criminal conviction in NSW for larceny had also voided his eligibility.)
After being found ineligible, the second candidate on the One Nation ticket in 2016 — Culleton’s brother-in-law, Peter Georgiou — took his place in parliament.
Culleton tried numerous legal challenges to overturn the rulings, which he still disputes. He refers to himself as a “Senator in exile”.
When asked about Pauline Hanson and One Nation, Culleton said they had “no chance” of retaining a WA senate seat on May 18.
“There’s one way to sum it up. Pauline Hanson and One Nation are caving in quicker than a pricked balloon,” he said.
“She had four good senators. Really had a chance. She hasn’t only let herself down but let her members and supporters down... what have they done? What has Peter done?”
Despite being his brother-in-law, Culleton did not hold back on Georgiou.
“He’s only filling my vacancy. He went on the field through the interchange bench and I can’t get him off the field and he’s not getting a kick of the footy,” Culleton said.
“I don’t interfere. He has an obligation... but he was never elected.”
Later, as the PM finished his press conference and departed, Culleton and his supporters stood in the driveway across the road, enjoying a Carlton Draught in the warm WA sun.
“Fancy being out, doing how to vote cards, and bugger me, we’ve got the Prime Minister,” he said.
Josh Butler is travelling with the Morrison campaign
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