The major party defections to One Nation continue with a former Queensland Labor MP the latest believed to be working for Pauline Hanson’s party ahead of the upcoming state election.
During a media conference on Tuesday, One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts claimed a “significant person” in the Labor party was now writing policy for One Nation behind the scenes.
“Because his Labor party has left him, he’s been abandoned. And he’s come to us because he sees us as someone that listens to the people,” Senator Roberts told reporters in Brisbane
That was confirmed by Pauline Hanson’s chief advisor, James Ashby, who told AAP the person was an ex-MP who did not want to be identified publicly to avoid negative backlash from Labor.
The defection would be a first for the Labor party, but it is all-too-familiar for the Liberal National Party, which has had four recent defections to One Nation.
Former Logan MP Michael Pucci quit the LNP via email on Sunday to serve as the director of One Nation’s Queensland election campaign.
He follows sitting MP Steve Dickson and former MPs Sam Cox and Neil Symes who have abandoned the LNP to work or run for One Nation ahead of the next state poll, due by early next year but expected to be called some time this year.
LNP president Gary Spence said members who joined One Nation have acted out of self-interest, and denied their defections were a reflection on leader Tim Nicholls
Mr Spence said Mr Pucci and Mr Symes eyed off safer seats than running for their old seats of Logan and Lytton respectively.
“Obviously those two fellows saw those seats as being very, very difficult and sought to extend their career elsewhere. Those opportunities just weren’t there for them in the LNP,” he said.
Meanwhile, independent MP Billy Gordon is considering a possible preference deal with One Nation, despite Senator Hanson’s history of criticising Aboriginal welfare dependency.
Mr Gordon – forced out of the Labor party a month after being elected in early 2015 – wants to talk to Mr Dickson about a possible deal to help him retain his Cape York-based electorate of Cook.
He told The Australian it was “a hard decision for me to talk to One Nation” due to Senator Hanson’s views about indigenous people when she first entered parliament.
“But lately, she has also struck a chord with some indigenous people who feel let down by the major parties,” Mr Gordon said
However, Senator Hanson shot down any suggestion of working with him.
“I’ve gotten rid of candidates out of this party for less than Billy Gordon’s done,” she said.
“Let’s see how his seat goes but it’s not looking favourable at this stage.”