A Liberal MP Has Just Defected To One Nation, Giving Pauline Hanson A Big Boost
The MP was upset Malcolm Turnbull didn't call him back.
Despite currently being embroiled in a number of scandals involving One Nation candidates, Pauline Hanson has secured a massive political win today.
Steve Dickson, the Liberal National Party MP for the Queensland state electorate of Buderim on the Sunshine Coast, has announced he has quit the LNP and joined One Nation. Dickson’s defection gives Hanson a foothold in Queensland’s very finely balanced hung parliament.
At a press conference today Dickson told reporters that a key policy issue behind his decision to quit the LNP was medicinal cannabis. He has previously lobbied for medicinal cannabis legislation in Queensland but failed to secure the support of his party.
— Sarah Vogler (@SarahLVogler) January 13, 2017
Dickson rang Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s office requesting a meeting on the issue, but didn’t receive a call back. But he said that he did have productive discussions with Hanson on the issue. One Nation supports legalising cannabis for medicinal purposes.
“I’m putting my career on the line,” Dickson said. “The two major parties have lost their way. We as politicians have to make a difference.”
The move is a blow to the Queensland LNP. The party has been under considerable pressure since the last federal election where One Nation secured nearly 10 percent of the vote. Last year George Brandis was caught on camera freaking out about the rise of One Nation.
“I’d say that the state opposition is very, very mediocre, and the state government is very, very mediocre but the thing that is alarming everyone is, as you would expect, the sudden spike in One Nation which is now at about 16 percent,” he said.
Federal Liberal National MP George Christensen has also threatened to quit the party, accusing Turnbull of not being “loyal” to party members.
Both Hanson and Dickson cited Donald Trump’s election in the US and the Brexit vote in the UK as evidence that voters were willing to vote for change.
Labor and the LNP each have 42 seats in Queensland’s 89 seat parliament. The current Labor premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, governs with the support of three independents. The Katter Australia Party has two MPs.
It’s not yet clear whether Dickson will attempt to work with the Labor government to progress policy issues. Hanson told reporters that One Nation will be running candidates in all Queensland seats for the upcoming state election, which could be held this year.