Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has warned Pauline Hanson that she made a serious misjudgment in handing the Coalition its humiliating defeat on union-busting laws.
Mr Dutton said the One Nation leader’s supporters would be “startled” by her failure to support the Ensuring Integrity Bill in the Senate.
The Morrison government was blindsided after its dreams of industrial relations reforms were dashed when Senator Hanson failed to deliver on her expected support on Thursday. Her decision to side with Labor, the Greens and fellow crossbencher Jacqui Lambie resulted in a tied vote, sinking the legislation.
The laws would have made it easier to deregister unions and ban officials.
Senator Hanson said on Thursday said she couldn’t support the bill unless more was done to crack down on banking misconduct after the Westpac money-laundering scandal.
But she might also change her mind in future if law-breaking and bullying on construction sites doesn’t stop.
“I hope she tells us what she wants,” Mr Dutton told Today on Friday.
“But I think her membership base, her support base in Queensland will be waking up today startled by the fact that she hadn’t supported this bill. I think she has made a mistake. I hope she can re-engage with the government and support a sensible bill.”
Senator Hanson said she had given the Coalition no assurances about her vote.
“My word’s my bond,” she told Sky News.
“They can have the opinion that I gave my word to them; I never did.
“All I said was bring the bill on because we’ve been negotiating, talking with unions, my office was constantly a revolving door with organisations, unions and the phone calls and we thought, ‘just put it to the vote’.”
Not even her staff knew how she intended to vote, Senator Hanson said.
The tit for tat came as Industrial Relations Minister Christian Porter said the government would not give up on the proposed laws.
“I’ll bring this [bill] back to our party room next week and in all likelihood it will come back into the House of Representatives next week,” he said on Friday.
“But this isn’t over.”
Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said the government had negotiated in good faith and acted on assurances it had been given.
She pointed to One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts’ conclusion in his speech on the bill, when he said it was time for improved accountability and for integrity for unions.
“If Senator Hanson and One Nation had the significant concerns that they say they had, they had every opportunity to raise that,” she told Sky News.
Both Senator Hanson and Senator Lambie have said they felt the government took them for granted during the debate.
“If they think they can take me for granted, well, think twice about it,” the One Nation leader told Sky News on Friday.
“I’m sick and tired of the government’s arrogance. And that’s what it is, sheer arrogance.”
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese declared Thursday’s vote a victory for working people.
“Obviously there was a lot of discussions going on but [One Nation] didn’t at any time indicate what they were going to do, I don’t think anyone knew until the bells rang and the vote happened,” he said.
“This was bad legislation, that’s why it was defeated.”
If the government does get the legislation through the House next week, it could be back before the Senate early next year.