Bob Day stepping down was bad enough, now questions about Rod Culleton’s eligibility have thrown another spanner in the Liberal works.
Western Australian One Nation Senator Rod Culleton, like Senator Day, has been referred to the High Court to decide whether or not he was eligible to be elected, topping off an already chaotic set of events in the Senate.
It turns out Senator Culleton had a criminal conviction to his name and was facing jail time of one year or more at the time of his election. His crime? Stealing the key to a tow truck. In 2014. Two years later, he’s now appearing in the High Court and could very well be booted out of parliament. Even though he was acquitted.
Politics is rough.
If Senator Culleton leaves, it will be more than just one less One Nation candidate in the Senate. It would be almost catastrophic for the Turnbull government, who was already having issues achieving anything in the first place. Just when things were looking up for Turnbull as he gradually made deals with Family First (Senator Day’s party) and One Nation – it all comes crashing down. Poor Malcolm, maybe someday he’ll have a government that governs.
One of the more alarming things for the Liberal party, however, is that it is now becoming more and more apparent that maybe they should have never called an early election in the first place. All they were looking for was a nice, friendly Senate. Instead they ended up with a small army of cross benchers with their own individual ideas, a larger group of Labor senators than they would have liked, and now? Two sympathetic cross benchers who have landed themselves in the High Court and could now give up their positions to Labor.
Suddenly the Senate is a very dark and scary place. – Matthew Buchanan
Top photo from Australian Parliament House website