One Nation leader Pauline Hanson says she is working to ensure the party does not fracture again and is warning she will not allow rogue candidates to “destroy” her political plans.
Three of the party’s Queensland candidates have been sacked or have withdrawn from running for One Nation in less than two months.
The party has a history of crumbling, most notably after the 1998 Queensland election, when it picked up 11 seats. More recently, the now-former senator Rod Culleton fell out with the party.
Senator Hanson insisted she could prevent further problems.
“I can assure you, [with] 20 years’ experience, knowledge, wisdom, understanding … I’ve taken over the leadership of this party,” she said.
“No-one, no-one is going to take it over and destroy what I want to achieve, what I want to do.”
Over summer Senator Hanson has been campaigning in Queensland, where an election is due early next year.
Peter Rogers, who was contesting the seat of Mulgrave in far north Queensland, said he was dumped at the weekend over an article published on his website two weeks ago.
He says he did not write the article, which claimed images of a toddler’s body washed up on a Turkish beach in 2015 were fabricated, along with the Port Arthur massacre in 1996.
Former candidate Shan Ju Lin was sacked earlier this month for her anti-gay comments, while Andy Semple withdrew his nomination after people within the party raised concerns about inappropriate comments he had made on Twitter.
Minor parties ‘have a lot of vulnerabilities’
Political analyst Geoff Cockfield, from the University of Southern Queensland, said minor parties could easily fall apart.
“They don’t have the systems of vetting and managing candidates so that the candidates can kind of do their own thing or get caught out with social media or other things, or they get into internal fights,” Professor Cockfield said.
He said One Nation could win a number of seats in Queensland, most likely less than 10, and was unsure of the party’s chances in Western Australia’s March poll.
“They have a lot of vulnerabilities and, as we’ve seen, minor parties in Australia have a real struggle to break through,” Professor Cockfield said.
“They can flame up but they can also die quite quickly.”
But Senator Hanson, who has announced her ambition to win government in Queensland, said she would not allow her party to implode again.
“I have team players with me but when it comes to making the decisions for this party and driving this party, it is solely in my hands and I will take full responsibility,” she said.