Only a couple of hours after One Nation announced that newly sworn-in Senator Fraser Anning had ditched the party to serve as an independent, the new pollie has utterly denied his former leader’s turn of events.
In stark contrast to Pauline Hanson, who says Anning chose to leave of his own volition, Anning now states he was expelled over an apparent conflict involving Malcolm Roberts’ former staff.
Anning, who employed a cadre of Roberts’ former staffers in the aftermath of his citizenship snafu, was reportedly barred from entering a One Nation party meeting this morning.
Hanson claims that several months back, Roberts’ former staff urged Anning to jump ship if Roberts was found ineligible to sit in Parliament.
She said that upon arriving at today’s meeing with his staffers, “Mr Anning was advised [his staff] were not welcome to this morning’s Party room meeting, because of their disloyalty to their former employer and myself.”
Hanson states Anning then hightailed it out of the room, effectively choosing to defect from the party.
However, Anning now says he was “verbally attacked” over his staffers, and that the abuse was “so vitriolic that I was obliged to simply walk out”.
He states that departure didn’t constitute as a defection in his mind, and that “the next thing I knew, I saw on the TV that I had supposedly become an independent.
“This was news to me!”
Anning says that Hanson didn’t even bother contacting him after his departure.
This one will probably devolve further before dinner, so watch this space / grab that popcorn.