Pauline Hanson has become teary on national television amid a spectacular falling-out with One Nation senator Brian Burston.
- Senator Burston denied claims he tried to join the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party
- He has been a member of One Nation for two decades
- If he goes, he would be the third One Nation Senator to quit in this Parliamentary term
Senator Burston “stabbed me in the back”, the party leader claimed during a live interview.
“The people of this country don’t even know who the hell Brian Burston is,” Senator Hanson told Sky News.
The explosive interview came on the same day Senator Burston told The Australian newspaper he would break ranks with the party over company tax cuts.
Senator Hanson described that decision as a “dummy spit” because he had not been guaranteed top spot on the New South Wales Senate ticket at the next election.
“No-one will win a seat on the floor of Parliament in my name,” she said.
“I fought for years to get back here to be there … to help the people of this country.
“It is not a [Senate] seat to just sit back and do absolutely nothing.”
If he goes, Senator Burston will reduce Pauline Hanson’s influence in the Senate, taking her One Nation voting bloc down to two votes.
A teary Senator Hanson apologised to voters “that this has happened again” and claimed those members did not have “the intestinal fortitude”.
“It’s all about themselves, self-serving,” she said.
“Well I don’t want people like that.”
Backflip on tax cuts
One Nation last week reversed its position on corporate tax, announcing it would not support the Government’s plan to extend tax cuts to all companies in Australia.
Senator Hanson recently dumped her New South Wales senator from his position of party whip, saying he was demoted because he “wasn’t doing the job” — but Senator Burston said he was sacked as party whip almost immediately after declaring he would vote with the Government.
He suggested Senator Hanson stopped supporting the business tax plan “because of the by-election that One Nation is contesting in Queensland”.
“She’s doing what she sees as politically … expedient,” he said, as the party prepared to contest the Longman by-election next month.
“I had a handshake deal with [Finance Minister] Mathias Cormann, I don’t break my handshake deals.”
Senator Hanson also said Senator Burston had attempted to join the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party — a claim he has denied.
“I would not contemplate joining that party, they rank very lowly in comparison to One Nation in the polls,” Senator Burston told the ABC’s AM program.
He accused his leader of creating “policy on-the-run” in The Australian.
“She had an opinion piece the other day regarding the Snowy 2.0 scheme — which she didn’t consult with us to see if we agree,” he said.
“Unfortunately we’re not given the input opportunities that a unified and cohesive party should get.”
He also defended his work ethic, saying he had secured at least $2 million for military veterans since joining the Senate in 2016.
Senator Brian Burston says he is still a member of Senator Hanson’s party. (AAP: Mick Tsikas)
‘She has her moods’
But Senator Hanson insisted she dumped the tax cuts after being “misled” by the Coalition over a side deal the parties had secured.
Senator Burston said he had a phone call with the party leader earlier on Thursday night.
“She was very, very angry and raised her voice. I ended up hanging up on her because I could not make any sense of what she was saying,” he said.
“I’ve known Pauline for so long, she has her moods if you like, I’m sure she’ll come back down to Earth.
“I’m very disappointed with Pauline’s outburst. I know she was quite emotional and upset.”
The two-decade party veteran insisted he was still a member of One Nation, despite the very public falling out with his leader.
“I am … unless Pauline decides otherwise, of course.”