It was bound to happen one way or another, and it finally bloody did: extremely embattled, former One Nation senator Rod Culleton has been given the boot from the senate.
Culleton, who was elected to his seat in 2016, had a short but very colourful run in the senate, which was categorised largely by a series of gaffes, legal battles and interpersonal altercations with One Nation leader Pauline Hanson.
Early in his tenure as a senator, the legitimacy of his candidacy was thrown into question due to a conviction he held at the time of his election, but he has now been ousted thanks to his newly declared bankruptcy before that issue even had time to be resolved.
— Dylan Caporn (@Dylan_Caporn) January 11, 2017
Senate President Stephen Parry informed West Australia Governor Kerry Sanderson earlier this evening that the Federal Court‘s ruling on Culleton’s eligibility (or apparently lack there of) officially means that there’s a vacancy in the upper house:
“It is a necessary and automatic consequence of the declaration of bankruptcy of a serving senator, that his place as a senator becomes vacant.”
Parry also advised party leaders of the outcome, while stressing that’s this is, naturally, not the end of the matter:
“The Senate has referred to the Court of Disputed Returns questions about the eligibility of Rod Culleton to have been chosen as a senator.”
“It will be necessary for the Court of Disputed Returns to deliver its answers to the referred questions before it will become apparent how the vacancy may be filled.”
Now, what’s going to happen from here isn’t clear.
While Culleton will presumably want to contest the vacancy, he probably isn’t even eligible to do that, which means the spot might go to either his brother-in-law Peter Georgiou, who was second on the ticket in the 2016 election, or another One Nation candidate.
Speaking of, looks like Hanson has someone ready to swoop in:
If a casual vacancy is declared because of Rod Culleton’s disqualification I have already chosen a great person to replace him in the Senate
— Pauline Hanson (@PaulineHansonOz) January 11, 2017
There’s talk that a recount might also be in the works, but, for anyone who remembers that nonsense with the US presidential election recount, it’s hard to imagine how helpful that could be.
Read the statement in full below:
— ABC News 24 (@ABCNews24) January 11, 2017
This worst part of all this? Culleton is going to have to get a new Twitter handle, because as it stands ‘@SenatorCulleton’ is a goddamn lie.
Photo: Channel 9.