Senate President strips Parliament House pass from Pauline Hanson's chief of staff

| 14.02,19. 06:46 PM |


Senate President strips Parliament House pass from Pauline Hanson's chief of staff

Photo: Pauline Hanson and Mr Ashby examine the blood smeared on Senator Hanson's office door. (Supplied: Rob Messenger)

The Senate has stripped Pauline Hanson's chief of staff James Ashby of his parliamentary pass and banned him from entering the building following an altercation with a senator.


Mr Ashby became involved in a scuffle with Brian Burston inside Parliament House, leaving the senator with an injured hand.


Senator Burston has launched legal action against Mr Ashby, including seeking a restraining order, and reported the incident to the Australian Federal Police.


Senator Burston quit One Nation last year after a prolonged feud with Senator Hanson.


Senate President Scott Ryan announced the ban late in the afternoon, having announced an investigation into the matter earlier in the day.


The announcement prompted Senator Burston to confirm blood that had appeared on Senator Hanson's office door earlier in the day was his.


"Whilst I do not recall the incident of blood on the door, I now have come to the conclusion that it was myself, and I sincerely apologise for that action," he told the Senate.


Mr Ashby said he respected the "jurisdiction of the President of the Senate" and had surrendered his pass.


"However, there must be a full investigation of this matter, the allegations that proceeded the altercation and a range of other issues regarding the alleged treatment of female staff that may be relevant to this matter," he said in a statement.


Mr Ashby and Senator Burston had been attending a function at Parliament House prior to their dispute in the foyer of the building.


Footage of the incident emerged, but Senator Burston said it failed to depict the full incident.


It came after a bitter war of words had broken out between Senator Hanson and Senator Burston.


Earlier in the week, Senator Hanson, speaking in the Parliament, said an unnamed, married, male senator was the subject of a serious sexual harassment investigation.


Senator Burston told News Corp that he believed she was talking about him and strenuously denied the accusations.


He then accused Senator Hanson of sexual harrasement, which she dismissed as "retaliation" and said she "can't stop laughing about it".


Council of Small Business Organisations Australia chief executive Peter Strong witnessed the incident between Mr Ashby and Senator Burston and described it as "disgraceful".


Crossbench senator Cory Bernardi praised Senator Ryan for stripping Mr Ashby of his parliamentary access.


"It is a special privilege and for any chief of staff, or any staff member, to accost a senator in the manner in which is alleged there is only one appropriate course of action," he said.


Senator Bernardi said he hoped the ban would remain in place "for a very long time".


abc


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