Pauline Hanson’s senators have been given the green light to vote according to their own will in parliament.
One Nation’s newest senator Malcolm Roberts, who officially received his ticket to Canberra on Thursday, said his allegiance was to the Queensland people, not Ms Hanson.
“Pauline Hanson told me and every other candidate, if you disagree with the party, you have a responsibility to cross the floor and that convinced me about this woman,” he told reporters in Brisbane.
Mr Roberts outlined some of his priorities in his new job, including family law court and tax changes.
He wants amendments to section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act to allow free speech.
“We need people to speak up freely and deliver what they really believe and yet they get slammed for that,” Mr Roberts told reporters in Brisbane.
“When we have free speech curbed, it means we don’t talk about the real issues – tax, Islam, terrorism, the economy.”
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Section 18C makes it illegal to carry out an act if “(a) the act is reasonably likely, in all the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people; and (b) the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group”.
The Queensland senator-elect also wants an inquiry into the Bureau of Meteorology and the CSIRO, the latter of which he’s accused of “corrupting the science”.
Mr Roberts is a staunch sceptic of the impact of man-made climate change, calling for changes to climate policy which assumes humans contribute to global warming.
“There is not one piece of empirical evidence anywhere showing humans cause (climate change),” he said.
The mining engineering graduate also declared himself a scientist, saying scientists relied on the scientific method.
“We need to stop these ridiculous lies based on climate,” he said.
However, Mr Roberts was more circumspect on his support for government policies such as restoring the construction industry watchdog.
While he was against union corruption, he’d wait until seeing the ABCC bill before finalising his position.
Mr Roberts also backs a plebiscite on legalising gay marriage.
Final count puts 11 crossbenchers in Senate
The final Senate vote count was revealed on Thursday, with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull now facing the task of negotiating with 11 crossbench senators.
The Coalition has lost three seats in the Upper House, returning with 30 senators, while the ALP has gained one senate seat, taking its tally to 26.
The government needs 39 votes to pass legislation, leaving it to negotiate with the crossbench – up from eight to 11 – comprised of four One Nation senators, three Nick Xenophon Team senators, as well as independents such as Jacqui Lambie and Derryn Hinch.
Family First Senator Bob Day and Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm were also returned, as well as nine Greens (down from 10 in the previous government).
One Nation polled more than 9 per cent of the first-preference vote in Queensland, securing up to 21 per cent in the conservative South Queensland seat of Wright.
Its other two senators will be Brian Burston in New South Wales and Rod Culleton in WA.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten attributed Ms Hanson’s success to Mr Turnbull and Greens leader Richard Di Natale.
Speaking to media in Sydney, Mr Shorten said the election of Ms Hanson and her colleagues was a result of voting reform and a double dissolution.
“The presence in such numbers of One Nation in the Senate is a direct result of Mr Turnbull and Mr Di Natale’s action in terms of their so-called electoral reform,” he said.
-AAP, with ABC