Pauline Hanson will announce she will send preferences to the coalition and put Labor last on One Nation’s how-to-vote cards in four key government seats.
Pauline Hanson has thrown Scott Morrison a political lifeline by putting Labor last on One Nation how-to-vote cards in four critical seats.
Meanwhile, the coalition government has described Clive Palmer as the “least worst” alternative option, after striking a preference deal with the billionaire in South Australia, although the government said there would be no discussions with Palmer on the policy front.
Senator Hanson has significantly lifted the Liberals’ chances of retaining four seats, including Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton’s Queensland seat of Dickson.
“Peter Dutton has been one of the toughest ministers on border security and has worked constructively behind the scenes with my office on matters of national security,” she told the Courier-Mail on Monday.
One Nation preferences could also save Attorney-General Christian Porter, and Liberal MPs Andrew Hastie and Luke Howard.
Senator Hanson said debate around the Adani coal mine had influenced her thinking.
“Bill Shorten and Labor have made it very clear that the majority of their elected members want to shut down our coal industry in Queensland and NSW which will leave tens of thousands of workers out of jobs,” she said.
“I won’t support him on that decision.”
In 2016, One Nation placed sitting MPs last, contributing to the LNP losing the Queensland seats of Herbert and Longman.
The Liberals are preferencing One Nation candidates behind Labor on their how-to-vote cards at the election, after an undercover story by Al Jazeera claimed that One Nation had approached the National Rifle Association in the United States for donations.
Hanson has denied the claims, describing the story as a “disgusting Qatari funded, Islamist Al Jazeera hit piece.”
But the coalition will preference Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party second on its Senate how-to-vote cards in South Australia.
“Sometimes it feels like you are allocating to the least worst out of a whole bad bunch of alternatives,” coalition campaign spokesman Simon Birmingham told the Adelaide Advertiser.
“We have problems with the policies and the positions that every other political party holds—ultimately we don’t endorse any of the rest of them.”
Labor frontbencher Jim Chalmers struck out at Hanson’s preference announcement.
Labor has also sought to discredit Palmer as a “tosser” and “con man” after the Liberal’s preference deal.
Labor frontbencher Jim Chalmers said the prime minister had legitimised somebody who could spend $50 million to spend on ads, but not the money owed to former workers of his Queensland Nickel refinery.
Palmer said $7 million will be available to the workers of the refinery through a trust managed by a solicitor from Tuesday.
The “fake news” of personal attacks should stop, he argued.
“Let’s face it, I’m a bad person. I’m a bad person,” he sarcastically told Nine’s Today Show on Monday. “Who cares about me? We care about this country and the policies we need to get done.”
But he stressed that the attacks against him haven’t left him rattled.
“For too long, people have pandered to people on the media and the news and worrying what they think, like and how they appeal,” he said. “My wealth is $4,000 million. Do you think I give a stuff about you personally think or anyone else? I care about this country.”
— The Today Show (@TheTodayShow) April 28, 2019
The United Australia Party has its sights set on forming government. “Why do you think we’re standing in 151 seats across this nation? Because we intend to win.”
Chalmers told ABC Radio, “The result of Morrison’s dirty deal with extreme right-wing parties in this country to cling to power is that we would have a Morrison-Palmer-Hanson three-ring circus of cuts and chaos.
“The Australian people should think very carefully before they endorse that.”
By Daniel McCulloch and Marnie Banger