He was once one of the One Nation’s most loyal senators but Brian Burston is set to quit the party following a bitter spat with Pauline Hanson that culminated with the her crying on live television last month.
The Sydney Morning Herald exclusively reports the New South Wales senator will announce his resignation on Thursday, which will leave One Nation with just two seats in Federal Parliament ahead of next week’s upper house votes. In another blow for Hanson, it is reported Burston will sit as an independent and continue to represent New South Wales in Parliament.
Speaking exclusively to Fairfax, Burston said One Nation would fail unless Hanson’s control of the party changed, and suggested the party change its name to “Gone Nation”. He said that Hanson ruled the party with an iron fist and anyone who didn’t agree with her was gone.
In a draft statement witnessed by Fairfax, Burston said “the best way forward for me to represent the best interest of the constituents of NSW with honour and integrity is for me to resign from PHON”.
Starts at 60 has contacted Senator Burston for comment. He has already updated his Facebook page from Brian Burston One Nation to Brian Burston – NSW Senate.
In May, Hanson fought back tears during a live interview with Sky News, in which she accused Burston of “stabbing her in the back”. She was referring to Burston’s decision to support the government’s $35.6 billion corporate tax proposal.
Speaking on The Bolt Report, the One Nation leader accused Burston of being guilty of a double betrayal by approaching the New South Wales Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party in a bid to defect from One Nation. Burston denied there was any truth to the claims.
In her interview on The Bolt Report, Hanson said she “hurts deeply” and that she’d known Burston for more than 20 years.
“It means so much for me what I’m trying to do and for him to turn around and do this to me Ben, it’s hard,” she told Sky News’ Ben Fordham as she fought back tears and repeated raised her voice. “But I’m going to keep going and I’m going to get good people in that parliament beside me because it means so much to me to help the people that need help, that feel like no one’s listening to them, they’re sick of politicians because they don’t do anything.”
During the interview, Hanson spoke of the many problems the One Nation party has faced in recent times. Former senator Rod Culleton quit the party at the end of 2016 and was later judged to be ineligible to run for parliament over an undischarged bankruptcy, while Malcolm Roberts was declared ineligible to run over citizenship issues in November and is currently running as a One Nation senate candidate. Senator Fraser Anning, whom Hanson parachuted in to replace Roberts, quit One Nation on his first day in the new position to sit as an independent.
Starts at 60 has contacted Pauline Hanson’s office for comment.