The Australian media loves nothing more than giving completely disproportionate levels of attention to relatively powerless fringe politicians from parties that hold little to no sway over day-to-day government. For the most part, it’s because they represent the far-right politics of the Sky News hosts and News Corp columnists that dictate what the conversation is about every week, but we’d like to take some time to focus on one because he is just an extremely weird unit: Rod ‘Bloody hell, mate’ Culleton.
His time in politics was brief and his impact was negligible, but it sure made for a good yarn. Culleton got to enjoy around six months as a One Nation senator for Western Australia before he had a very public falling out with Pauline Hanson, subsequently leaving the party. Shortly afterwards, he was kicked out of the Senate entirely, after the High Court ruled that he was bankrupt, making him ineligible to serve as a senator. This, funnily enough, happened before the High Court had a chance to disqualify him for a completely different reason, relating to a larceny charge he held at the time he was elected, which should have made him ineligible. (In itself a great story: he took and refused to return a $7.50 key to a rental truck that was being repossessed off him.)
In the immediate wake of his sacking as a senator, he refused to acknowledge in any fashion that he had, in fact, been sacked and dedicated himself to fighting this injustice. True to his word, he kept it up, challenging both the court decision that ruled him bankrupt and the subsequent ruling that found him ineligible to serve as a senator.
Unfortunately, as seems to be Culleton’s lot in life, this bid was not successful. The court documents are, unsurprisingly, a mess of thick legalese that is slightly beyond my rudimentary understanding of the law (it starts and ends at “Skateboarding is not a crime!!!“), but it seems very evident that Culleton is a ridiculous person who the courts do not have time for.
The ruling that makes it quite clear that not only does the court not see any reason to reinstate him, they also don’t have the power to:
I have no power to order that the applicant be “re-instated” as a Senator for Western Australia. The High Court has authoritatively and finally determined the issue of the applicant’s eligibility or qualification to be a Senator for Western Australia. Nor has this Court any power or jurisdiction to determine whether the High Court sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns had jurisdiction to entertain the reference proceeding, or made any errors in its consideration of that proceeding.
Nor does this Court have any power or jurisdiction to consider whether the former Attorney-General or the former President of the Senate, or the Senate, or the Australian Government Solicitor, or counsel before the High Court committed any errors in the course of the reference proceeding.
His attempt to prove that he wasn’t bankrupt was somewhat undermined by the fact that he didn’t try and prove it at all:
The applicant did not present any evidence or plausible evidence of his financial circumstances.
The conclusion reached seemed pretty definitive:
None of the claims or arguments of the applicant have any prospects of success and the pursuit of many of the claims is quite clearly an abuse of process.
Bless you for trying, Rod.