| 13.11,17. 09:32 PM |
One Nation: New senator Fraser Anning says Pauline Hanson kicked him out of party
Photo: Today is Fraser Anning's first day as a senator. (ABC News: Jed Cooper)
One of Australia's newest senators, Fraser Anning, has said he was verbally abused in a "vitriolic" party room attack before Pauline Hanson kicked him out of One Nation.
Senator Anning rocked the party just a few moments into his political career by choosing to be sworn in alongside crossbenchers Cory Bernardi and David Leyonhjelm, rather than his party leader.
He said his decision to snub his One Nation colleague came after a "profoundly shocking" meeting where he was told his staff were not welcome.
"The facts are that I turned up at this morning's One Nation party meeting ready to be part of Pauline Hanson's Senate team and my staff were prohibited from entering," he said.
"As soon as I got into the room, I was verbally attacked.
"I tried to answer as best I could but the attack was so vitriolic that I was obliged to simply walk out."
Senator Anning said his colleagues, Brian Burston and Peter Georgiou, told him that Senator Hanson demanded he did not employ staff that her chief of staff James Ashby disliked.
"In response, I made it clear that I remained a supporter of Pauline Hanson, however it was unacceptable to me that either she or James Ashby dictate to me who I could and could not employ."
He denied reports he had abandoned the party and said Senator Hanson had instead kicked him out.
"It seems that without even contacting me, Pauline has unilaterally kicked me out of the party," he said.
Senator Hanson was not present in the chamber when Senator Anning was sworn in, and has a different take on the morning's meeting.
In a statement, she said Senator Anning walked out of the meeting saying, "I know where this is going".
She said Senator Burston and Senator Georgiou attempted to resolve the conflict with Senator Anning, who informed them he would be standing as an independent "until something else comes along".
Senator Hanson said she believed one of former One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts' staff had encouraged Senator Anning to defect to Senator Bernardi's party.
Senator Anning was sworn in as the replacement for Senator Roberts, who was kicked out Parliament by the High Court due to his dual citizenship.
Senator Anning's public rebuke of the One Nation leader comes weeks after he criticised the party's handling of the dual citizenship saga.
Senator Hanson said she had tried to discuss Senator Anning's political future with him on numerous occasions in recent weeks.
"Instead, he chose to release scathing media releases demanding I pledge my support to him without even meeting or speaking to him," she said.
But Senator Anning denied that too, saying he "repeatedly tried to call her but she never bothered to return my calls".
Despite the conflict and claims he has been kicked out of the party, Senator Anning is continuing to describe himself as a One Nation senator.
ABC election analyst Antony Green said there was nothing stopping Senator Anning leaving One Nation to sit as an independent, or to join another political party.
"They, to some extent, have free will to represent their constituents as they wish, which is interesting in Senator Anning's case, as his constituency seems to have 19 votes for him," he said.
"The only reason Fraser Anning is in Parliament is because Pauline Hanson is popular, the same reason that Malcolm Roberts was there."