Politics

One Nation Is In A Giant Mess And No One Knows What’s Going On

This is fine.

One Nation is in quite a bit of a mess right now. Sure, the whole Parliament’s in a bit of a mess, what with dual citizen MPs dropping like flies, but One Nation politicians are dropping at an especially dizzying rate, like flies that have been sprayed with a fast-acting pesticide.

Earlier today One Nation’s newest senator, Fraser Anning, was sworn in to replace Malcolm Roberts, only to immediately defect from the party. Now, he’s claiming that he was actually kicked out, and only heard about his supposed defection when he saw TV reports about it. Ouch.

Here’s how it supposedly went down. Ever since the High Court booted Malcolm Roberts out of Parliament, Pauline Hanson has been desperately trying to get in touch with Fraser Anning, who was next in line for the throne Queensland senate seat, to ask him to please give it up so Roberts could make his glorious return. As Hanson’s press release put it, given things like Roberts’ “role in challenging climate change”, it would be “in the Federal Party’s and Australia’s best interest for Malcolm Roberts to be returned to the Senate.” Riiiiiight.

Unfortunately for Hanson’s master plan Anning did not answer his phone for a long time, which meant he and Hanson only got to chat this morning, right before Anning was due to be sworn in. To say this meeting did not go well is an understatement. It began with Hanson telling Anning his staff, who used to work for Malcolm Roberts, “were not welcome to this morning’s Party room meeting, because of their disloyalty to their former employer and myself”.

The subsequent meeting then left Anning feeling so “verbally attacked” he was “obliged to simply walk out”, according to The GuardianApparently all he said before he walked out was “I know where this is going”, which adds a bit of much-needed mystique to the tantrum.

Unfortunately, as I, the omniscient narrator, must now note, Anning did not in fact know where this was going. Fast-forward a couple of minutes, and he reckons “the next thing I knew, I saw on the TV that I had supposedly become an independent. This was news to me!”

“It seems without even contacting me, Pauline has unilaterally kicked me out of her party,” he said. “I have to say that I’m stunned.”

We are also stunned, mostly by the data. We all knew One Nation was a mess, but check out this infographic from The Guardian, which points out that actually, in the past 20 years, 61% of One Nation’s elected politicians have quit or been expelled from the party.

And while we’re on the topic of data, here’s another number for you: this is your friendly reminder that Fraser Anning only actually received 19 first-preference votes — fewer votes than the last candidate on his own ticket. He’s also said he’s a climate change skeptic and anti-Islam, and now he’s on the loose in Parliament as a random independent.

We’d speculate on what that means, but honestly, let’s give it a few days. Who knows where he’ll end up?