After a messy feud with leader Pauline Hanson, Senator Brian Burston has quit the One Nation party. The decision follows public tensions between the two senators.
Senator Hanson had previously dumped Burston as the One Nation party’s whip, a position the Senator had held since September 2016. The position of being One Nation’s whip is now occupied by West Australian Senator Peter Georgiou.
No clear reasons had been provided for Senator Hanson’s decision, although following this action Burston claimed to have no intentions of leaving the One Nation party.
However, Burston’s relationship with his party leader soured after he announced his decision to vote with the Government for company tax cuts which Hanson strongly opposed.
Hanson had publicly reacted badly to Burston’s decision to support the tax cuts, claiming the former One Nation whip had “stabbed her in the back” by siding with the Government. Senator Hanson insisted that as part of the party, One Nation senators were expected stick together in their voting decisions.
It seems that relations between the longtime colleagues have been severed for good, with Hanson publishing an official letter to remove Burston as an officer of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation. The letter also calls for Burston to make the “honourable” decision of resigning from the Senate seat handing it back to the party.
Despite this letter, Senator Burston had previously insisted he desired to stay on the One Nation party. Recent updates have signaled a change, as Burston has now announced his decision to quit One Nation and stay in Senate as an independent.
Senator Burston expressed his criticisms of the way the One Nation party was run, illustrating Hanson as an autocratic leader and claiming there was no democracy in the party.
Burston’s decision to leave the party significantly reduces One Nation’s bargaining power, with only two members remaining.