A senator who won one of the 12 West Australian Senate seats for One Nation is quite flippant about the law, it seems.
One Nation senator for Western Australia Rodney Culleton was arrested in northern NSW today following an earlier conviction for stealing a set of truck keys, following which he had the conviction annulled. Mr Culleton was convicted after failing to attend a court hearing earlier this year and a warrant for his arrest was issued.
Leaving the Armidale courtroom, Senator Culleton exclaimed “What a ripper,” but told reporters the matter was a “joke”.
Senator Culleton has previously said he attempted to phone into the court hearing, but a magistrate convicted him in his absence. Today a magistrate said the annulment was “in the interests of justice”. The matter will go back before the court in September after the magistrate said it needed “full ventilation before the court”.
Culleton is also awaiting trial in Perth over an allegation he stole a hire car last year — which could threaten his position as a senator if it leads to a conviction. The Constitution says a senator cannot be serving or awaiting a sentence for a crime that carries a prison sentence of 12 months or longer.
After today’s NSW ruling, Culleton’s counsel Peter King said his position in Parliament was “not at all” in limbo. “He’s now free to sit in the Senate. He’s been properly elected by the people of Western Australia and he’ll be a strong voice for the community in that part of the country.”
Mr King branded the case “weak” and “over a trivial matter”. “The fact is today his conviction has been dismissed, the annulment application has been completely successful,” he said.
Senator Culleton was “delighted” with the result, Mr King added. “He’s pleased that the court has seemed fit to set aside the conviction.”