In an ongoing saga of confused politics, One Nation’s senators are now further divided from each other, with Brian Burston telling the Government that he will support the vote for company tax cuts while party leader Pauline Hanson says she will vote to block the legislation.
Last week Senator Burston was dumped by Senator Hanson as the party’s whip, although he said that he had no plans to leave the party. Now Senator Burston has told the Coalition Government that he will now vote in favour of the changes to the company tax rate, which are now opposed by Senator Hanson despite her early deal with the Government to support it.
Senator Burston told the press that he was deciding to honour One Nation’s original deal with the Government that had been pushed aside by Senator Hanson’s reversal on her stance. Senator Burston’s decision to continue supporting company tax cuts won’t be enough for the Government to pass the plan, however.
Matthias Cormann, the Federal Finance Minister, said that despite the bleak outlook he would continue to work with crossbenchers to drum up support for the tax cuts. Liberal Senator Richard Colbeck stated that the party welcomed Senator Burston’s support.
Senator Hanson has said that she and Peter Georgiou, the only other senator in the party, would not change their position on the company tax cuts. She said that the party was “still standing strong” in resistance to the Government’s proposed tax cuts.
Senator Hanson also insisted that she had consulted with Senator Burston before changing her position. She said that she has a “record” on her phone of a “nine-minute conversation” with Senator Burston on Monday.
She said that in the phone call, Senator Burston had agreed with her position that the party should no longer support tax cuts for large and medium companies. She went on to say that she has not spoken with Senator Burston since then.
She gave no guarantees about Senator Burston being on the party’s Senate ticket for the upcoming election. She said that the party’s pre-selection process had “yet to be finalised”.
Senator Hanson also said that it was expected that One Nation senators would vote unanimously on issues such as corporate tax rate changes. She said that the party wasn’t a “loose alliance” but that it was a strong party that would vote “as a bloc”.
Despite the obvious rift between herself and Senator Burston, Senator Hanson insisted that the party was not split and that they were “united” in their vote.